Detoxing Through Your Feet

There’s nothing more relaxing for tired feet than a great foot soak at the end of the day. By adding some simple ingredients to your foot soak, you can increase the healing properties of your foot soak, and boost the overall health benefits.

Bentonite clay is well known for its ability to pull toxin out when it comes into contact with the body. Epsom salts are said to break down into magnesium and sulfate in the water, then your body absorbs the minerals through the skin, and then “draw out” toxins from the body. Lavender oil is well known for its soothing and calming properties.

My favorite add-ins include:

To set up a foot detox bath, start by getting a large tub or bowl. Mix 1/2 cup of epsom salts in to 6 quarts of hot water and let it dissolve. While waiting, mix 2 TBSP of bentonite clay with 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar and apply to your feet. Leave it on until it dries (about 10-15 minutes). Add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil to the water and place your feet in the tub. Soak for about 15 minutes and you can use a pumice stone or natural bristle brush to help remove the clay and/or dead skin.

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.

 

Watch Out for Dry, Itchy Feet

Regardless of age, we all have experienced itchy and flaky skin especially when the weather gets chilly. Besides winter wind, other factors that can cause discomfort in our feet include dry indoor air, low humidity, and harsh soaps.

The skin on our feet is dry in nature compared to other parts of our body such as the face and the hands. This is because it has no oil glands and only solely relies on sweat glands to keep it moisturized. This can be one of the problems faced by people who don’t regularly moisturize their feet. Dry, itchy feet are more common in adults and in those who are diabetic as well. Cold weather especially during fall and winter is another factor that causes dry feet.

Symptoms of Dry Feet

Dryness of the feet may or may not have underlying causes. Usually, it is associated with other symptoms such as:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Rough skin
  • Cracks or fissures
  • Flaky skin
  • Rashes

These symptoms worsen as the winter months approach.

 Complications of Dry Feet

Now, while you may think that having dry feet is harmless, think again.

The symptoms associated with dry feet may not cause alarm initially but they can develop into severe problems.

Apart from being painful, additional complications of dry feet can include:

  • Difficulty in walking
  • Development of skin conditions such as dermatitis or psoriasis
  • Limitations in using your feet
  • Regular itchiness and burning sensation
  • Expensive treatment in cases when over-the-counter medicines no longer work

 Treatment of Dry Feet

Addressing the underlying causes of dry feet is the first step in treating it. However, if your dry feet are solely due to the cold weather, here are some things you can do to keep it soft and smooth:

 Take lukewarm showers and baths only
While taking hot baths and showers can feel divine and relaxing, it actually strips off your skin with its natural oils. Plus, it can also worsen the itchiness of your feet.
Lukewarm water helps retain the moisture of your skin including that of your feet.

Use gentle products for your feet
Scented foot lotions, creams or deodorants can be harsh and can strip off your skin’s essential oils. This is why you should use unscented foot products instead.

Hydrate yourself
Hydrating yourself from the inside is one of the best ways to deal with dry feet effectively. For optimal skin hydration, drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.

Hydrate your house
Dry indoor air also contributes to the drying of your feet. This is why you have to keep your home moist during winter. You can use a humidifier and add indoor plants.

What are Chilblains?

Very cold temperatures cause small blood vessels to tighten, limiting circulation towards the extremities, which are already at a disadvantage for being so far from the body’s core.Chilblains are small, itchy swellings on the skin that occur as a reaction to cold temperatures. They most often affect the body’s extremities, such as the toes, heels, ears and nose. Chilblains can be uncomfortable, but rarely cause any permanent damage. They normally heal within a few weeks if further exposure to the cold is avoided.

Signs and symptoms of chilblains

Chilblains usually develop several hours after exposure to the cold. They typically cause a burning and itching sensation in the affected areas, which can become more intense if you go into a warm room.

In severe cases, the surface of the skin may break and sores or blisters can develop. It’s important not to scratch the skin as it can break easily and become infected.

What causes chilblains?

Chilblains are the result of an abnormal reaction to the cold. Some people develop chilblains due to poor circulation since cold temperatures cause small blood vessels to tighten and limit circulation towards the extremities like your toes.

When the skin is cold, blood vessels near its surface get narrower. If the skin is then exposed to heat, the blood vessels become wider. If this happens too quickly, blood vessels near the surface of the skin can’t always handle the increased blood flow.
This can cause blood to leak into the surrounding tissue, which may cause the swelling and itchiness associated with chilblains.

Treating chilblains

Chilblains often get better on their own after a week or two. It may help to use a soothing lotion, such as calamine or witch hazel, to relieve itching..

If your chilblains are severe and keep returning, speak to your doctor who can prescribe proper medicine.

Preventing chilblains

If you’re susceptible to chilblains, you can reduce your risk of developing them by:

  • limiting your exposure to the cold
  • looking after your feet
  • taking steps to improve your circulation

Complications of chilblains

If you have severe or recurring chilblains, there’s a small risk of further problems developing, such as:

  • infection from blistered or scratched skin
  • ulcers forming on the skin
  • permanent discoloration of the skin
  • scarring of the skin

It’s often possible to avoid these complications by:

  • not scratching or rubbing the affected areas of skin
  • not directly overheating the chilblains (by using hot water, for example)

You can also help reduce your risk of infection by cleaning any breaks in your skin with antiseptic and covering the area with an antiseptic dressing.

Treatment for Cracked Heels

Cracked heels mean your skin is screaming for moisture. When skin on the feet becomes so dry that it cracks, you know you’ve got a serious dry skin problem. Cracked heels need some serious moisture fast to prevent pain, bleeding, and infection.

“You’ve got to keep skin well moisturized,” says Alan K. Mauser, DPM, a podiatrist in Louisville, KY. “You’ve got to reduce the callus tissue either manually or chemically. Sometimes you can put medication on there that reduces the callus tissue, but it’s a constant diligent job to keep your skin moisturized.”

Cracked Heels: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Cracked heels occur for one main reason — the skin on your heels is just too dry to support the immense pressure on them. So when the foot expands, that dry, callused skin on your heels just splits. The best possible treatment for cracked heels is to get some moisture back in those feet, right away!

And it’s not just so your feet look pretty: cracked heels can pose a serious foot problem if the cracks or fissures open too much and allow for an infection to develop.

How to Treat Cracked Heels

Here’s how you can keep your heels crack-free:

  • Invest in a good foot cream. Look for rich, heavy moisturizing creams or even oils to rub into your dry feet.
  • Try petroleum jelly. It may take a while to soak in, but petroleum jelly is a good way to restore moisture to cracked heels. Try coating your feet in petroleum jelly at night before bed, slip on some comfy socks, and let it soak in overnight while you are asleep.
  • Ease off the soaps. It’s important to keep cracked heels clean and dry, but a harsh soap can keep drying out those feet. Use a gentle, mild cleanser that won’t strip more moisture out of your feet.

If you spot any signs of infection (soreness, redness, or swelling) around a dry, cracked area, you should get to a podiatrist. And people with diabetes should always have any foot condition checked out by a podiatrist.

The good news is with some extra effort and some pampering, you can get cracked heel skin cleared up rather quickly.

Reference: https://www.everydayhealth.com/foot-health/cracked-heels-treatment.aspx

The Season for Socks

When it comes to your foot health socks are usually over shadowed by the search for the best exterior footwear. However, choosing the right socks is a highly important part of keeping your feet (and general health ) in the best condition.  When the seasons are changing and the weather is turning colder it’s well worth the effort to stock up on the appropriate socks.

Cotton socks – just say no

Like most people, your sock drawer is probably crowded full of a wide variety of styles and colors of cotton socks.

The reason cotton socks are absolutely terrible choices for cool weather is because they have little insulation value and because they absorb and hold moisture. Worse yet, once a cotton sock is wet, it loses all insulation value. The end result of wearing cotton socks during the winter is that as your foot perspires the sock absorbs the moisture and then holds it, thereby coating your foot with a slick film of water while losing all insulation value in the process.

Blended wools are best

For cold weather, a sock made of wool, IsoWool, shearling, fleece and similar type synthetic materials must be used. The reason these types socks are excellent for winter wear is because if the socks get wet (due to excessive perspiration from the foot), the socks themselves do not lose their insulating properties. Additionally, the various styles of synthetic socks are also generally far thicker than a standard thin cotton sock, allowing the sock to absorb far more moisture.  Moreover, and one of the neatest features of these types of socks, is that dry themselves out by simply being worn. The body heat of a person can actually dry out these types of socks.

Winter socks aren’t just for outdoor use, either. If you suffer from cold feet while just sitting at home, as many people do, take a look at the socks you wear. If they are made from cotton, regardless of how thick or stylish they might be, you might as well be sitting around barefoot as the sock is potentially doing more harm than good.

Remember, in cold weather, particularly if you engage in strenuous activities, avoid any socks that has any cotton content in it. Your foot will be thankful to you for it.

Reference: http://www.bigskyfishing.com/snow-boots/winter-sock.php

Treat & Prevent Dry, Cracked Heels

Heel fissures, also known as cracked heels can be a simple cosmetic problem and a nuisance, but can also lead to serious medical problems. Heel fissures occur when the skin on the bottom, outer edge of the heel becomes hard, dry and flaky, sometimes causing deep fissures that can be painful or bleed.

Heel fissures can affect anyone, but risk factors include: Living in a dry climate Obesity Consistently walking barefoot or wearing sandals or open-backed shoes Inactive sweat glands Like many foot conditions, heel fissures can become more dangerous if they go untreated and become deep or infected. This is especially dangerous for people with diabetes or compromised immune systems.

If you already have dry heels, what’s a girl to do? Here is my regimen that I find helpful for getting rid of those nasty white, dry heels when they creep in!

  1. Deep clean/soak your feet: Soaking your feet using the foot soak recipe below. Be sure to clean all the spaces on your feet with a washcloth, including the areas in between your toes.
  2. Exfoliate: Using a bristle brush, exfoliate your feet and ankles. Start at the ankle area and brush in a circular motion to the tips of your toes, working your way around the top and the bottom of the feet. Yo can also use a pumice stone. Be sure not to be aggressive when exfoliating, or you can do more harm than good.
  3. Moisturize: Using a thick, creamy lotion or mask, coat the feet and let the moisturizer sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping off with a warm washcloth. If possible do all of this before bed, then put on soft, cotton socks immediately after applying moisturizer.

Foot Soak Recipe

  • 1 cup of Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts
  • 2 drops lavender oil (Lavendula angustifolia)
  • 2 drops tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 2 drops eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • 2 drops camomile oil (Matricaria recutita)
  • Mix oils and store in a dark glass jar

To create the soak: pour boiling water into a large bowl, and let it cool down to a comfortable temperature. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the cleansing foot soak mixture, and soak feet for up to 15 minutes.

As with any condition, prevention is always easier than treatment, so be sure to regularly care for your feet to avoid any extreme issues that come from neglect over time.

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.

Wearing shoes without socks leads to rise in cases of athlete’s foot, Royal College of Podiatry warns

The trend of wearing shoes without socks is leading to a rise in cases of problems such as athlete’s foot, the College of Podiatry has warned.

The “bare ankle” look has filtered down from the catwalk to the most avid followers of fashion, with designers of menswear showcasing their formal attire with sockless models in suits.

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have experimented with the style, including Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Orlando Bloom and Jude Law – and online guides on how to go “sockless with style” are littered with advice on how to adopt the look, with helpful pointers such as only doing it with slim tailored trousers.

Yet beyond the inevitable concern of suffering from smelly shoes brought about by a lack of cotton, it appears men are failing to realise some of the more serious repercussions and are seeking out help from podiatrists and chiropodists.

“As a whole, we are seeing more and more men coming to us with issues caused by poorly fitting footwear, and not just ones choosing to go sockless,” said podiatrist Emma Stevenson, from the College of Podiatry.

Because the phenomenon is still in its early stages, the college is yet to carry out any formal studies to shed light on the number of people affected – but is keen to make sure people are aware of the health problems that might arise.

Feet, for example, typically produce half a pint of sweat a day and any moisture, if not soaked up by socks, is maintained in synthetic and non-breathable material – leaving people open to fungal infections.

One way Mrs Stevenson recommends solving this issue is by placing dry tea bags in shoes overnight to absorb any leftover sweat, while also suggesting men spray their feet with underarm antiperspirant.

She said: “Depending on the level of sweatiness of the foot, there may be issues with too much moisture in the feet, which can leave you vulnerable to fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.

“On average your feet will sweat half a pint a day; that’s a lot to be pouring out straight into your shoe without it being absorbed by a sock.

“Many shoes that are available on the high street today may have leather uppers but are lined in synthetic material, which is not breathable. If the lining is not breathable then moisture, heat and bacteria will all be trapped inside the shoe.”

Her advice is to give shoes 48 hours to dry out to prevent bacteria breeding. However Mrs Stevenson, who sits on the council of the College of Podiatry, also points out that ill-fitting footwear and a lack of socks can lead to issues like blisters and the formation of painful corns, calluses and ingrown toenails.

Tips for avoiding problems caused by wearing shoes without socks

According to Emma Stevenson, College of Podiatry

  • Spray feet with underarm antiperspirant prior to putting your shoes on
  • Don’t wear the same shoes everyday
  • Give shoes 48 hours to dry off
  • Use dry tea bags to absorb excess moisture in shoes
  • Wash and dry feet correctly after going sockless
  • Don’t do it if your shoes begin to give you pain

“Another of the biggest issues is also the new trend for narrow, pointed men’s shoes, and slip-on shoes. Going sockless is common with both of these styles,” she said.

“Pointy shoes are not shaped appropriately for the foot, resulting in ill-fitting shoes. This in turn causes friction over bony prominences in the feet such as the toes and heels.

“In addition to increasing the risk of ingrown toenails, other bony defect issues such as bunions can be exacerbated by pointy shoes. Likewise, slip-on shoes cause the toes to claw in order to keep the shoe on the foot and can also result in increased friction on the back of the foot where the foot slips in and out of the shoe.”

Source: Telegraph | Not Affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Managing Ingrown Toenails At Home

When you have an ingrown toenail, you don’t usually want people looking at your toes. They can be swollen, infected and less than sexy! So I put together this post about ingrown toenails and how to prevent and treat them, so you can show off your sexy toes.

Known to physicians as onychocryptosis, ingrown toe nails are a common, painful condition that occur when skin on one or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe. Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection. Irritation, redness, an uncomfortable sensation of warmth, as well as swelling can result from an ingrown toenail.

Causes

In some cases ingrown toenails are congenital, such as toenails that simply are too large. People whose toes curl, either congenitally or from diseases like arthritis, are prone to ingrown toenails. Often trauma, like stubbing a toe or having a toe stepped on, can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. Repeated trauma, such as the pounding to which runners typically subject their feet, also can cause ingrown nails.

The most common cause is cutting your toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin. Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes only make matters worse. If the skin is red, painful or swollen on the sides of the nail, an infection may be present. This occurs because the ingrown nail is often in a warm, moist and bacteria-rich environment. When the nail penetrates the skin, it provides a convenient entry for germs that can cause infection. Untreated, the nail can go under the skin, causing a more severe infection. In either case, the infection needs to be cured with sterile instruments and antibiotics.

Treatment & Prevention

Ingrown toenails should be treated as soon as they are recognized. In many cases, people with uninfected ingrown toenails can obtain relief with the following simple regimen:

  • Soak the feet in warm salt water
  • Dry them thoroughly with a clean towel
  • Apply a mild antiseptic solution to the area
  • Bandage the toe

infection

If excessive inflammation, swelling, pain or discharge is present as in the above photo, the toenail probably is infected and should be treated by a physician. A podiatrist can trim or remove the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure. He or she can remove the offending portion of the nail or overgrown skin with a scalpel and treat the infection. Unless, the problem is congenital, the best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to protect the feet from trauma and wear shoes with adequate room for the toes.

trim

Cutting toe nails properly goes a long way toward the prevention of ingrown toenails. Using a safety nail clipper, cut the nails straight across, so that the nail corner is visible. If you cut the nail too short, you are inviting the nail corner to grow into the skin. It is the natural tendency, when the edge of the nail starts to grow in, to cut down at an angle at the nail edge, to relieve the pain. This does relieve the pain temporarily, but it also can start a downward spiral, training the nail to become more and more ingrown.

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.

How To Avoid Getting Lice Naturally

With kids returning to school, I am starting to see posts popping up about lice letters coming home with their children. YIKES! Lice is one of my biggest fears because my daughter has thick, very curly hair and I feel like we would never get rid of them! I have done tons of research on how to naturally avoid getting lice without exposing my daughters to toxic chemical treatments.

  1. Don’t wash hair too often: In my research, I found that lice are more likely to be attracted to freshly washed/clean hair. While washing your hair daily may seem like a great way to keep lice at bay, the opposite is actually true. Try to keep hair washing to a minimum: 2-3 a week, max!
  2. Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is a natural lice deterrent. Simply fill a spray bottle with water and add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil (per ounce of liquid). Shake well and spray on hair and rub/comb through before styling.
  3. Natural Lice Deterrent Spray: Lice Shield uses natural essential oils known to repel lice so you can react easy. There’s no need to spray your hair with toxic chemicals to keep lice at bay.
  4. Use Natural Hair Products: As mentioned above, lice prefer clean hair. Hair that is covered in product like gel or hair spray is less desirable for these critters. Most hair sprays and gels you buy at the pharmacy are filled with nasty, toxic ingredients, but there are a few more natural options out there.
  5. Keep hair up in a tight bun or braid: Hair that is loosely flowing is more likely to come into contact with something contaminated with lice. Keeping hair up and away from the shoulders will help prevent lice from getting to your hair.
  6. Use plastic backpacks: Lice can come home on your child’s fabric backpack. Using a plastic backpack makes it less likely for lice to lay eggs in your backpack fibers, because there aren’t any fabric fibers for them to get into.

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.

If Your Hands or Feet Ever Feel Tingly or Numb During a Workout, Here’s Why

I usually start to feel it near the midpoint of my cardio workouts—a numb or tingling feeling in my hands. As far as inconveniences go, it’s pretty minor (only slightly more annoying than remembering midway through a workout that gray leggings are never a good idea). But tingling hands are still not something I want to deal with at the gym.

So, in the name of health journalism, I decided to talk to some experts and find out why this midworkout pins-and-needles sensation happens to me—and if there’s anything I can do to prevent it. Here’s what I learned.

Tingling or numbness in the hands is usually a sign that blood flow to the nerves is being blocked.

The countless nerves that run throughout our bodies are super sensitive, and the most sensitive of all are sensory nerves—the ones that give feeling. So even a slight change in blood supply to those nerves can impact what we feel, resulting in numbness and tingling (there’s an actual term for that feeling, by the way; it’s called “paresthesia”). “The most common cause for changes in blood supply to nerves in a healthy person is positional,” Jeffrey M. Gross, M.D., medical director at NYU Langone Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Associates, tells SELF. It’s the same reason your arm may get numb if you fall asleep on it—that position blocks blood supply to the nerves.

During any kind of cardio—running, using the elliptical, even vigorously walking—the arm is often bent at the elbow. That position forces the ulnar nerve (aka the “funny bone,” which yes, is actually a nerve), which runs along the inside of your forearm and down to your pinky and ring fingers, to stretch across the bone in your elbow. Stretching that nerve cuts off its blood supply, which in turn, makes your pinky and ring fingers feel tingly and numb. “Everyone’s anatomy is a little bit different, so some people are more prone to this than others,” says Dr. Gross.

Clenching or pumping your arms too aggressively midworkout can also contribute to the sensation.

“When people are limited for time or are stressed, they tend to make a tight fist and an aggressive pumping motion during exercise, which can make the tingling or numbness worse,” Alice Chen, M.D., a physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, tells SELF. Clenching your hands into fists isn’t great running form anyway—letting them swing naturally by your side is better for momentum and helps you maintain proper trunk rotation as you move. Instead, relax your grip and imagine lightly holding something between your thumb and pointer finger. Concentrating on loosening your grip will also prevent you from pumping your arms too vigorously (which is a waste of energy), says Dr. Chen.

The spirit fingers approach works too—simply shaking your arms and hands out once they start to feel strange can help get the blood flowing properly again. The bottom line? “Change your form or position so your arms and hands aren’t stuck in the same place for too long,” Brittni Rohde, M.D., a sports neurology fellow at Michigan NeuroSport at the University of Michigan, tells SELF.

You may feel tingling and numbness in your feet too—it happens for a similar reason.

Exercising increases blood flow to your muscles, causing them to swell, says Dr. Gross. This muscle swelling is more common in the legs and feet during exercise because of gravity—the fluid in the lower body increases much more than the upper body. When your feet swell during a workout, they press against your sneakers and the nerves can become slightly compressed. Cue the numbness and tingling.

A tingling or numb sensation is more likely in a situation where your feet remain stationary, like when you’re using an elliptical machine, an arc trainer, or even a bike. “On the elliptical machine, your foot is swelling inside of your sneaker and not changing positions,” says Dr. Gross. That forces the swollen foot to hit against the inside of the sneaker more than if you were running, where the foot and sneaker are both moving.

If you’re doing something that requires movement and still feel tingling or numbness, it could also be an issue with your sneakers. If your shoes are too tight, or you lace them up too snugly, your foot doesn’t have room to expand, which can lead to that uncomfortable sensation.

Numbness during exercise is usually nothing to worry about, as long as it goes away.

“The tingling or numbness is benign as long as it goes away when you shake it out,” says Dr. Chen. But if the sensation lingers, doesn’t go away after you’ve stopped the activity, or gets worse, it could be a sign of a bigger issue like a pinched nerve, carpal tunnel syndrome, or even diabetes. And in very rare cases, persistent numbness that’s accompanied by muscle weakness could indicate something more serious like an underlying neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis—Dr. Gross suggests seeing your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing this.

But more often than not, in healthy people, it’s just a sign of a compressed nerve, and that feeling will go away once you shake it off. As for the health of your ego once your entire gym or running group watches you bring out the spirit fingers halfway through your workout? That’s not guaranteed, but it’s a hell of a lot more comfortable than dealing with pins and needles when you’re just trying to get in a good workout.

Source: Self.com | Not Affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

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