Preparing Your Feet For Winter

The weather is officially cooling down and it’s time to put away our flip-flops and sandals, and take out our boots! I absolutely LOVE a good pair of boots. However, as we transition into cooler weather, it is important to ensure that we properly prepare our feet for the change in climate and footwear. Winter snow, ice, salt, and cold temperatures can take a toll on your tootsies, so now is the time to prepare them and avoid the cracking and drying associated with the cold winter months.

Proper footcare can keep your feet soft, smooth and crack-free during the winter months. It can help you avoid dry, brittle toenails and hardened, dry heels that often come with dry air, colder weather and indoor heat. Start the seasonal transition off with a good pedicure. Be sure to buff off calluses, exfoliate and moisturize with a nice thick moisturizer to give your feet a fresh start for the season.

It’s important to remember that socks are an important part of winter foot health. Damp and dark conditions, such as those found in shoes, promote the growth of fungi, bacteria and odor – eew! You can protect your feet by wearing socks made with copper fibers that have been clinically proven to help eliminate these common problems and improve your skin’s appearance and texture. Copper ions, embedded in the yarn and guaranteed to last for the life of the sock, provide superior protection and eliminate 99.9% of bacteria, fungi and odors commonly found in feet.

In addition to eliminating the bacteria, germs etc in your shoes, it’s important to choose socks that also offer the proper support and help to keep your feet dry and healthy. I don’t know about you, but my feet totally know the difference between cheap socks and good quality socks. I feel like my athletic performance improves when my feet feel their most comfortable. Below are a few key attributes to look for when choosing socks.

  • Added heel to toe cushioning for superior shock absorption
  • Elasticized arch support for added performance
  • Reduces friction to help prevent blistering
  • Technologically advanced Moisture-Guard wicking system
  • Helps controls odor and rejuvenates your skin

Taking time now to prepare your feet before the winter comes is essential, and doing so will help you avoid all sorts of potential foot issues, and keep your feet looking and feeling their best.

Learn more about copper socks and where to purchase them HERE.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Got Itchy Feet? Be Aware of Shoe Allergies

A host of things can cause your feet to become irritated, an allergy could be the culprit Keep the following in mind.

When the weather turns cool and the bulky shoes come out, so can shoe allergies — also known as shoe contact dermatitis. Sometimes it manifests in the form of a flaking, uncomfortable rash.

Shoe contact dermatitis, a skin inflammation that can be brought about by the chemicals and materials in certain shoes (rubber, glues and leather tanning chemicals, most often), could be affecting around 7 million people in the U.S., according to Tracey C. Vlahovic, an associate professor and practicing doctor at Temple University’s School of Podiatric Medicine.

“Limiting perspiration is key,” says Vlahovic , who spoke to Footwear news, adding that the burning rash most often appears when sweaty feet rub against the allergy-causing components of the shoe. More instances of the condition can happen during colder seasons because many affected people tend to wear closed-toe and heavy shoes for longer periods of time.

While such skin problems usually occur to people who are already allergic to certain materials that are commonly used to make shoes, many could be entirely unaware of any allergy until the rash appears.

How can you treat foot allergies?

Once the skin irritation occurs, depending on seriousness, it can be treated by prescription medications (such as Elidel cream) or over-the-counter creams and ointments (such as Aveeno Intense Relief). It can also go away after the allergy-causing material is removed. In extreme cases, patients may need antibiotics or steroid injections to treat the allergy if it spreads to large parts of the body, Vlahovic explained.

How can you avoid shoe contact dermatitis?

“Avoidance of the allergen can be difficult,” said Vlahovic. Still, she suggests everyone minimize sweating in their feet as much as possible — whether it be by wearing two pairs of socks or, for those who have to wear humid work boots on the job regularly, getting anti-perspiration Botox injections or customized shoes.

Additionally, most countries now have a system called Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). This system catalogues information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. However sensible and practical this advice is, it is often complicated because many of the products go under different names and there is a general lack of product information at the point of purchase. This is more difficult with footwear as the relevant information is rarely displayed. Therefore, as usual, we advise to always see your doctor before you take any medications so you can obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment

Source credit|Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide: http://footwearnews.com/2017/business/news/shoe-allergies-contact-dermatitis-foot-rash-452404/

 

Does the Ball of your Foot Hurt?

Ball of foot pain causes, diagnosis and treatment

The medical term for pain in the ball of the foot is metatarsalgia. It’s an umbrella term for a symptom that can have many possible causes, as opposed to a diagnosis in and of itself.

Those with metatarsalgia experience pain and inflammation in the padding directly below the toes, which is where we place the most pressure when standing and moving.

The pain is usually present in the metatarsal heads — the joint that is just under your toes — or the big toe. You may also experience shooting pain, numbness, and pain with flexing the toes. The pain may ease when you are off your feet and return when you resume your normal activities.

Ball of foot pain is relatively common and treatable in most cases, especially when the cause has been determined.

Causes

A person can develop metatarsalgia due to a number of factors, and it’s important to narrow down the cause in order to implement the best treatment. Metatarsalgia may be caused by:

  • intense physical activity
  • having a high arch or a second toe longer than the big toe
  • stress fractures
  • wearing high heels or shoes that are too small
  • hammer toe and bunions
  • being overweight
  • metatarsal joint pain or arthritis

In addition, there are some specific conditions that can cause ball of foot pain. In Morton’s neuroma, the area by the third and fourth toe is affected. This is caused by a thickening of the tissues around the nerves leading to the toes.

Freiberg disease can also be a cause. With this condition, part of the metatarsal head loses structural integrity, leading to collapse in the head of the second metatarsal and nearby joint.

Metatarsalgia can also be caused by sesamoiditis. Sesamoiditis is broken or inflamed pulley-like bones that are connected to tendons instead of other bones (like the knee cap). This condition is common in those with high physical activity, like ballet dancers or runners.

Diagnosis

Sometimes metatarsalgia goes away on its own after a few days. If your pain persists for more than two weeks, or if the pain is severe and accompanied with swelling or discoloration, be sure to see your doctor.

Your doctor will examine your foot, both while you’re standing and sitting. The doctor will ask you questions about your lifestyle, including how long you have to be on your feet each day, what type of shoes you generally wear, and if you’re involved in any new activity.

The doctor may also order an X-ray to determine whether you have a stress fracture. As with any foot injury or issue, let your doctor know if you have diabetes.

Treatment

There are many home remedies for metatarsalgia. If your symptoms aren’t caused by a larger issue, such as Freiberg disease or diabetes, your doctor will probably recommend some or all of the following. You should experience relief in a matter of days.

Rest your foot when you can, especially after periods of activity. Use an ice pack for 20-minute intervals, followed by 20 minutes off. The ice will help alleviate inflammation and reduce swelling.

Wear comfortable shoes. If you wear high heels, your doctor will probably recommend that you change your footwear. You’ll also want to make sure that your shoes fit properly. Tight shoes can cause your feet to not align properly while you stand and walk, creating improper balance.

Exercise. While you won’t want to participate in running or certain high-impact sports during this time, targeted stretches can ease pain and increase flexibility and strength. You’ll likely want to practice your stretches a few times a day until the pain is relieved.

Use orthotic inserts. Depending on the level of severity, your doctor may prescribe orthotic inserts or recommend commercial shoe inserts. Orthotic inserts can help align the foot and provide extra cushioning. A pad under the ball of the foot can ease pain as well.

Manage your body weight. Excess weight can put extra pressure on the balls of your feet, and lowering your weight can help relieve this strain. Your doctor can recommend management based on your lifestyle and any other health complications.

Take pain medication. Your doctor may suggest taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or another type of painkiller. If your case of metatarsalgia is severe, the doctor may also prescribe injectable steroids which you will receive in-office.

If your metatarsalgia is caused by a hammer toe, a pinched nerve, or a similar type of complication, an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist may decide if corrective surgery is the best course of action. However, the treatments above cure ball of foot pain in most cases.

For excellent solutions to help you treat ball of foot pain go to http://www.aetrex.com/aetrex-orthotics-new

Outlook

Most cases of ball of foot pain can be resolved with treatment. Wearing comfortable shoes and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent ball of foot pain. If your metatarsalgia is a result of physical exercise, let your foot rest as much as possible until the pain subsides.

In all cases, seek the advice of a medical professional. This will speed up your recovery, as you’ll be receiving cause-specific care.

 

Tips for Finding Proper Fitting Shoes for Your Child

One of the most important purchases on any parent’s shopping list should be a pair of proper fitting shoes for their child. For many parents, shoe shopping may seem to be a no brainer, but several important factors should be considered:

  • Children’s Feet Change Quickly with Age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s feet grow.
  • Shoes That Don’t Fit Properly Can Aggravate the Feet. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
  • Never Hand Down Footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
  • Examine the Heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
  • Take Your Child Shoe Shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a kid have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
  • Always Buy for the Larger Foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
  • Buy Shoes That Do Not Need a “Break-In” Period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your kid try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.

In the end, as with all health related issues taking preventative action will result in a better well being and help avoid unnecessary suffering and costs down the road.

Source credit| Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide: http://www.apma.org/Learn/HealthyFeetTips.cfm?ItemNumber=9861

Foods To Help Reduce Edema/Swelling

Diet can be a truly powerful tool. Each time we eat, we are either nourishing and  supporting our bodies, or we are doing a bit of damage. Using food as a healing tool can be very powerful. My daughter used to suffer from chronic illness as a child, and through dietary changes, she is now thriving and extremely healthy. If you suffer from edema/swelling, there are some foods you should avoid, and some foods you can add, to get yourself back to balance.

Foods to add: Foods that have diuretic properties will help to reduce the amount of fluid your body holds on to. Watermelon, asparagus, parsley, beets, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, cucumbers, pineapples, pumpkins, onions, leeks and garlic can all help to reduce the amount of swelling in your body. Incorporating several of these into a salad or smoothie each day may help to reduce the amount of fluid your body is retaining.

Foods to avoid: Anything that causes fluid retention should definitely be avoided if you are suffering from edema. Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, dairy products, animal protein, dried shellfish, fried foods, gravies, olives, pickles, salt, soy sauce, tobacco, white flour and white sugar are all known to cause fluid retention. By avoiding these foods, you can help to limit the amount of fluid your body holds on to.

Although every body is different and different foods are good for some and bad for others, following these general guidelines can be helpful in reducing your swelling. Trying to avoid packaged/processed foods is always a good thing to help your body find balance. Practicing self-care with things like regular massage, sitting with your feet up and stretching can help to keep your circulation moving.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Tips For Avoiding & Treating Bunions Naturally

Bunions, referred to in the medical community as Hallux Valgus, are one of the most common forefoot problems. A bunion is a bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. A bunion is actually a bone protruding toward the inside of the foot. With the continued movement of the big toe toward the smaller toes, it is common to find the big toe resting under or over the second toe, causing a condition called overlapping toes. Some of the symptoms of bunions include inflammation, swelling, and soreness on the side surface of the affected big toe. As a result of the pain, patients commonly walk improperly.

A Bunionette, or Tailor’s Bunion, is another type of bunion. Bunionettes form on the outside of the foot toward the joint at the little toe. It is a smaller bump than a bunion, and it forms due to the little toe moving inwards, toward the big toe.

What Causes Bunions?

Bunions are a common problem, typically experienced by women. The deformity can develop from an abnormality in foot function, or arthritis, but is more commonly caused by wearing improper fitting footwear. Tight, narrow dress shoes with a constrictive toe box (toe area) can cause the foot to begin to take the shape of the shoe, leading to the formation of a bunion. Women who have bunions normally wear dress shoes that are too small for their feet. Their toes are squeezed together in their shoes causing the first metatarsal bone to protrude on the side of the foot. In this instance, beauty really is pain!

It is important for men and women to realize that wearing dress shoes and boots, which are tapered in the toe area, can cause the bunion to worsen to the point where surgery is necessary.

How To Treat & Prevent Bunions

To prevent development of bunions, it is critical to ensure that your feet are measured regularly and that you have properly fitting footwear. Avoid footwear with narrow, pointy toes. Opt for options that have high, wide toe boxes that can properly accommodate your foot.

Some of the most common non-surgical treatments for bunions include:

  • Soaking feet in warm water, ice packs or a whirlpool (temporary relief)
  • Wearing properly fitted footwear with a high, wide toe box
  • Shoes with rocker soles to unload pressure in the bunion area
  • Orthotics to provide extra comfort, support and protection
  • Forefoot products including: bunion shields, bunion night splints and bunion bandages
  • Maintain a normal body weight to alleviate pressure on the feet
  • Foot massage with essential oils (Young Living’s PanAway, followed up with Peppermint after can be very effective in relieving pain)

The most important thing to focus on with bunions is prevention! In some more severe cases of bunions, surgery may be necessary. I am a big believer that treating your feet properly from the start is SO important so you can avoid painful and inconvenient conditions like bunions.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Preventing Leg Cramps (“Charley Horses”)

Some of us experience painful leg cramps, also known as “Charley Horses” from time to time. While it is not known 100% what the cause of these muscle cramps or spasms is, there are some dietary/lifestyle changes and supplements you can incorporate into your day that can help prevent some of the typical causes.

Hydrate

It is incredibly important to be sure that you are drinking enough water during the day to stay properly hydrated. Dehydrated muscles are much more likely to cramp. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 oz. of water a day. If you have a very intense workout with lots of sweating, be sure to replenish your electrolytes with coconut water or a natural electrolyte drink (I don’t like Gatorade because of all the sugar and artificial colors they add).

Stretching

Properly stretch your calves, quadriceps and hamstrings daily to avoid muscles becoming overly tight. When your muscles are tight, they are much more likely to cramp. You can find some good stretches here: http://wp.me/p5qPKB-iX

Supplementation

Some believe that charley horses are the result of a deficiency in several important minerals, mainly potassium, magnesium and calcium. Taking a daily supplement with 500-700 mg of calcium and about 250-350 mg in magnesium  will help provide your body with the proper balance it requires. For potassium, there are many great foods you can incorporate into your diet including broccoli, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, grapefruit and oranges.

Warm Soak

Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts is a great way to relax muscles and replenish magnesium. I find that soaking after a really intense workout helps prevent soreness in my muscles the next day.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

10 Tips for a Good Shoe Fit!

Years of wear and tear can be hard on our feet. So can disease, poor circulation, improperly trimmed toenails, and wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. Problems with our feet can be the first sign of more serious medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve and circulatory disorders.

Wearing comfortable shoes that fit well can prevent many foot ailments.

Here are ten tips for getting a proper shoe fit:

  1. The size of your feet changes as you grow older so always have your feet measured before buying shoes. The best time to measure your feet is at the end of the day when your feet are largest.
  2. Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other, so fit your shoe to your larger foot.
  3. Don’t select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe but by how the shoe fits your foot.
  4. Select a shoe that is shaped like your foot.
  5. During the fitting process, make sure there is enough space (3/8″ to 1/2″) for your longest toe at the end of each shoe when you are standing up.
  6. Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe.
  7. Don’t buy shoes that feel too tight and expect them to stretch to fit.
  8. Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slipping – the shoes should not ride up and down on your heel when you walk.
  9. Walk in the shoes to make sure they fit and feel right. Then take them home and spend some time walking on carpet to make sure the fit is a good one.
  10. The upper part of the shoes should be made of a soft, flexible material to match the shape of your foot. Shoes made of leather can reduce the possibility of skin irritations. Soles should provide solid footing and not be slippery. Thick soles cushion your feet when walking on hard surfaces. Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and less damaging than high-heeled shoes.

And regarding buying winter boots…

Bring your own socks The ones you’re going to most likely use with the boots you’re going to buy. Additionally, if you use insoles or custom orthotics, bring them along, too.

Extra tip: For the best in comfort, health and technically superior footwear for all seasons, check out Aetrex at https://www.aetrex.com. – recognized and approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Source material credit: https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/10_tips_for_a_good_shoe_fit.  Some of the information in the original article has been provided  by The National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov).

Problems with Wet Socks

For many of us, ’tis the upcoming season of sidewalks filled with snow and slush as the temperatures rise and fall. If you don’t have a quality pair of shoes, water (not so clean as well) can make it’s way into your shoe and cause your socks to get wet. This is a mildly annoying feeling, but it can also lead to some negative consequences for your foot health.

Aside from being uncomfortable, wet socks can cause issues with your feet. They can lead to:

  1. Sores and Blisters – Wetness can increase the friction between the foot and the sock, and if it’s not taken care of, it can lead to sores and blisters on your feet.
  2. Rashes or Athlete’s Foot – Dampness is a breeding ground for bacteria, and rashes or fungus can develop if your feet are constantly in a wet sock or shoe. Keeping your feet dry can help prevent similar issues like athlete’s foot.
  3. Trench Foot – Named for soldiers whose feet were constantly exposed to cold and wet conditions, prolonged use of wet socks and shoes in the winter months can lead to damage to the skin, blood vessels and nerves in the feet. It can take months for your foot to heal, and it may never regain some sensations if damage is extreme enough.
  4. Frostbite – Similarly, if your socks are wet and you’re outside in very cold temperatures for long periods of time, you could develop frostbite on your toes. Sounds, extreme, but this can lead to permanent toe damage and the possible need to amputate the damaged toes.

Tips To Prevent Sock Wetness

Keeping your feet try comes down to planning ahead and being prepared for the elements. Follow these tips to help keep your feet dry this winter or anytime it’s wet outside.

  • Invest in a quality shoe or boot that doesn’t allow moisture in.
  • Change your socks any time they get wet.
  • Pack an extra pair of socks and shoes if you believe your feet might get wet
  • Routinely inspect your footwear cracks and holes, especially if you’re just pulling them out of the closet for the first time this season.
  • Try avoid puddles and slush when walking.
  • Contact a foot specialist if you believe you’re suffering from a wetness-related foot issue.

How To Prevent Fungal Infections

To prevent fungal infections take care to do the following:

– Choose smarter sock material. Cotton is comfortable but stores to much moisture.
Go with a merino wool or synthetic blend that “wicks” away sweat and moisture.

– Thoroughly dry your feet with a towel after showers, especially in between toes.

– Bring a change of socks to throw on halfway through the day. Or even keep a pair in
your office or car in case you get caught with soaked shoes so you at least keep your
feet warm and dry until you can get into a fesh pair of shoes.

– Alternating shoes to allow for complete drying between wears.

Excerpted source credit: https://www.anklefootmd.com/dangers-wet-socks/

Lance Silverman, MD. Dr. Lance Silverman is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon, with specialty training in the management of conditions of the ankle and foot. Learm more at https://www.anklefootmd.com/

Do You Overpronate When You Walk or Run?

Normal walking can be divided into two phases: stance and swing. Stance is the time that your foot is in contact with the ground. This is when problems usually occur. Swing is the time the opposite, non weight bearing foot is in the air.

Diagnosing overpronation relies more on looking at how you walk or run than where your pain is located.

What is Overpronation?

Pronation is a normal part of walking or running. When the outside edge of your heel hits the ground, it supinates—or locks—to deal with the shockwave. Your foot then rolls in a bit and your heel moves outward. Together, these actions cause you to pronate—or unlock. Pronation helps you absorb shock and adapt to uneven surfaces.

But if your foot rolls too far inward, like many people, you overpronate.

Overpronation can cause problems throughout your body. Why? Because the foot isn’t properly absorbing the shock of your stride—instead passing that shock on to your legs, knees, hips, and even spine.

Overpronating also forces the inner toes to take on all the work of pushing off for your next step. That can lead to injury or other foot problems including plantar fasciitis, bunions and calluses.

People with flat feet, low arches, or overly flexible arches tend to overpronate. Because your arches can’t support your step, your foot rolls too far inward, twisting your foot, leg, and knee and forcing your body out of proper alignment.

Other factors that may contribute to overpronation include:

  • Injury.
  • Tendonitis.
  • Arthritis.
  • Weight increase.
  • Aging.
Think you might overpronate? Try this simple 3-part self-assessment quiz.

Question #1: Do I have:

  • Pain in my feet, legs, knees, hips, or back after walking or running?
  • Unusual tightness in my leg muscles?
  • Recurring problems with bunions or calluses?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, you show symptoms that may be caused by overpronation. Are you at a high risk for overpronating.

Question #2:  Do I have:

  • Flat feet or low arches?
  • Tendonitis?
  • Arthritis?

If you answered yes to any of these, it’s possible your symptoms stem from overpronating. Now, pull out a well-worn pair of your running or
walking shoes. Try this last self- assessment quiz.

Question #3: Do your shoes:

  • Show uneven, heavier wear on the inside edge of the sole (especially on the heel, midfoot, and the ball of the foot)?
  • Tilt inward when placed on a flat surface?

If you answered yes to either of these, you probably overpronate. Make an appointment with a podiatrist to confirm your condition.

The good news is Overpronation is quite common and very correctable. But left unchecked, it could cause:
  • Degenerative wear and tear and chronic discomfort in the knees, hips, or spine
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Stress fractures
  • Arthritis
How do I treat and prevent overpronation?

Overpronation may just be part of your natural gait. But you can correct it—and avoid the many associated effects—with some simple measures. Your podiatrist will help you determine the best steps for you. For general foot health it’s best to wear shoes with:

  1. Good arch support
  2. Firm midsoles
  3. Deep heel cups
  4. Low heels

Lastly, if you want to help prevent future stress on your feet be sure to see https://www.aetrex.com – recognized and approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association– for top style and comfort in footwear.

Source material excerpted from https://www.footsmart.com/health-resource-center/foot/pronation. See this link to learn more and full credit