Treat & Prevent Varicose Veins Naturally

Varicose veins can be unsightly and sometimes even uncomfortable. It’s common for many who have varicose veins to get laser surgery to eliminate them. Fortunately, there are also some natural alternatives you can try to help get rid of your varicose veins before you turn to laser treatments.

Symptoms

According to mayoclinic.com, signs of varicose veins include:

  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs

When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Bleeding from varicose veins
  • A painful cord in the vein with red discoloration of the skin
  • Color changes, hardening of the vein, inflammation of the skin or skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention

Causes

Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity.

Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

Causes of varicose veins can include:

  • Age. As you get older, your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward.Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated through the lungs.
  • Pregnancy. Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, but decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in your legs.Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when your uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in your legs. Changes in your hormones during pregnancy also may play a role. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment three to 12 months after delivery.

Prevention

As with many conditions, prevention is preferred over treatment. Some simple, natural things you can do to avoid varicose veins include:

  • Dry brushing: Use a body brush to increase your circulation and keep blood moving
  • Don’t cross your legs when sitting, this can prevent proper blood flow
  • Elevate your feet occasionally if you are standing for extended periods of time. This helps prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet to keep inflammation low. Examples include berries, tumeric, kale, broccoli and olive oil.

I found this great DIY recipe for varicose vein body butter at The Crunchy Moose

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.

Do You Have Shin Splints?

Shin splints are a common lower extremity complaint, especially among runners and other athletes. They are characterized by pain in the front or inside aspect of the lower leg due to overexertion of the muscles. The pain usually develops gradually without a history of trauma, and might begin as a dull ache along the front or inside of the shin (Tibia) after running or even walking. Small bumps and tender areas may become evident adjacent to the shin bone. The pain can become more intense if not addressed, and shin splints should not be left untreated because of an increased risk of developing stress fractures. Shin splints usually involve small tears in the leg muscles where they are attached to the shin bone. The two types of shin splints are: anterior shin splints, in the front portion of the tibia; and posterior shin splints, occurring on the inside of the leg along the tibia.

Shin splints can be caused when the anterior leg muscles are stressed by running, especially on hard surfaces or extensively on the toes, or by sports that involve jumping. Wearing athletic shoes that are worn out or don’t have enough shock absorption can also cause this condition. Over-pronated (flat feet) are another factor that can lead to increased stress on the lower leg muscles during exercise. People with high arched feet can also experience shin splint discomfort because this foot type is a poor shock absorber.

The best way to prevent shin splints is to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles, wear footwear with good shock absorption, and avoid running on hard surfaces or excessive running or jumping on the ball-of-the-foot. Insoles or orthotics that offer arch support for over-pronation are also important. Treatment for shin splints should include taking a break from the exercise that is causing the problem until pain subsides. Icing the area immediately after running or other exercise can also be effective, along with gentle stretching before and after training. Another option is taking aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is important not to try to train through the pain of shin splints. Runners should decrease mileage for about a week and avoid hills or hard surfaces. If a muscle imbalance, poor running form or flat feet are causing the problem, a long-term solution might involve a stretching and strengthening program and orthotics that support the foot and correct over-pronation. In more severe cases, ice massage, electrostimuli, heat treatments and ultra-sound might be used.

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Buy Lynco Men’s orthotics: Here

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Buy Lynco Women’s orthotics: 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.

Spring Cleaning Naturally…Ditch The Toxins!

‘Tis the season for SPRING CLEANING! I love giving my house a fresh start for the season. Airing out the curtains, opening the windows and breathing in the fresh spring air. It’s all so refreshing!

However, there are some seriously toxic ingredients in most of the store bought cleaning products. Filled with chemicals, toxins, fragrances and tons of other unnatural ingredients, these products can put great stress on your body, especially for children, whose systems are just developing.

There are so many children growing up with respiratory issues. Exposing them to these chemicals worsens the symptoms and is dangerous for developing bodies. If you want to check the safety of your products, visit www.ewg.org to learn more about just how toxic your current products are.

That being said, I am going to give you some more natural alternatives that will get your home just as clean without the added toxicity.

All Purpose Cleaner:

  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Dr. Bronner’s soap
  • 4 TBSP white vinegar
  • 400 mL warm water
  • Stir/shake to mix well and use a squirt bottle for application

Dusting Spray:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Stir/shake to mix well and use a squirt bottle for application

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:

  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup borax
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Place ingredients directly into toilet and mix with bowl brush. Let sit 30 minutes before scrubbing

Granite Cleaner

  • ½ cup rubbing alcohol
  • 8 drops Dr. Bronner’s soap
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Combine in a squirt bottle

Glass Cleaner:

  • ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 TBSP corn starch
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Stir/shake to mix well and use a squirt bottle for application

I hope you enjoy some of these recipes and they can help you “clean up” your spring cleaning. Everyone deserves a clean home free from toxic air!

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.

Foods For Clear Skin

Of course, genetics and lifestyle play an important role in the health of your skin. However, eating properly can also help support your skin from the inside out. The skin is a major indicator as to whether you have been eating properly. Below are some “skin superfoods” you should try adding into your diet.

Water

Water is so important when it comes to skin health!!! It maintains proper organ function, delivers vital nutrients to your body’s cells and help the body eliminate toxins. Keeping your body hydrated from the inside also makes your skin look firmer and clearer. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces a day. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs. you should be drinking at least 100 oz. of water a day.

Broccoli

This tasty veggie is high in important antioxidants – vitamins C and E. The vitamin C aids in collagen production to keep your skin supple, while vitamin E protects your skin against UV damage. Frozen broccoli is one of my favorite quick and easy side dishes. It’s so easy to steam on the stovetop and there’s no chopping or prep required.

Strawberries

High in Vitamin C, these sweet and delicious berries help to fight wrinkles and dry skin from the inside out by fighting free radicals. They’re easy to throw into a smoothie, on top of oatmeal or salad, or just munch on by themselves for a snack.

Almonds

The vitamin E in almonds helps protect skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. However, be sure not to overdo it on the nuts – as they are high in calories and fat – which will surely show up on your waistline. Try to limit yourself to a handful (about 8-10 almonds) at a time.

Carrots

Carrots are high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A inside the body – which helps repair the skin as well as protect against UV rays. I like to blend carrots into my soups, finely grate them into muffins, waffles or pancakes and of course, they’re great in salads.

Pumpkin Seeds

A perfect fall snack! The zinc in pumpkin seeds protects your cell membranes, helps maintain collagen, and promotes skin renewal. These are great sprinkled on top of a salad or even a handful as part of a healthy snack.

Fish

High in healthy omega–3 fats – fish can help strengthen skin cell membranes, protect against sun damage, and may also reduce the risk of certain forms of skin cancer. Omega 3 fats help fight inflammation in the skin while allowing water and nutrients into the skin and protecting it from toxins.

Of course, protecting your skin from the outside with toxin-free sunscreen daily is also very important. Keeping hydrated, eating right, exfoliating 1-2 times a week and taking good care of your skin will go a long way in avoiding the dreaded crow’s feet – preventing skin problems is much easier than treating them!

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.

Is it Normal That My Second Toe is Longer Than My Big Toe?

When I was in college, I remember having a discussion about toe lengths with my roommates because both of them had second toes that were longer than their big toes. They both insisted that I was in the minority because their toes were both the same. Of course, I decided I had to research this topic so we could determine who was right. Turns out, I was right! They have a condition called Morton’s Toe. Morton’s Toe is a common forefoot disorder where the second toe is longer than the Big Toe (the Hallux).

Morton’s toe leads to excessive pressure on the second metatarsal head (behind the second toe at the ball-of-the-foot) resulting in pain similar to the discomfort associated with metatarsalgia. The constant pressure placed on the longer second toe while walking or standing can lead to callus formation under the second metatarsal head due to this excessive pressure.

Proper treatment of Morton’s Toe starts with selecting proper footwear. Footwear with a high and wide toe box (toe area) is ideal for treating this condition. It may be necessary to buy footwear a half size to a size larger to accommodate the longer second toe. Orthotics that feature arch support to keep the foot aligned, and a metatarsal pad to reduce stress on the ball-of-the-foot are often recommended when treating this condition. Proper footwear combined with a effective orthotic will provide relief from pain associated with Morton’s Toe.

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Buy Men’s Casual Slip-ons with high toe-boxes: Here

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Buy Women’s Slip-ons with high toe-boxes: Here

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Buy Lynco Men’s orthotics: 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.

Healthy Low Carb Pasta Packed With Protein

Like most women, I LOVE carbs! I would eat them all day if I could. Unfortunately, I must limit my carbohydrate intake, or I gain weight very quickly. However, as a Mom of two young children, pasta is a staple meal in our home. While brown rice pasta is definitely a healthier alternative to traditional white pasta, it is still quite high in carbs, which means I have to limit myself.

One day as I was strolling through Whole Foods a year or so ago, I came across a pasta made of lentils! JUST LENTILS!!! I was intrigued, so I turned the box around the read the label, and was so excited to find that this pasta was packed with protein! As I continued down the aisle I spotted pasta made simply from chick peas – score! Since my toddler loves pasta, but isn’t really into meats of any kind, I try to get her protein from beans and legumes. Lentil or bean based pastas are the perfect solution. It also allows me to enjoy pasta and know that it’s slightly less carbohydrates than brown rice pasta, and I am getting my protein requirements for the day! WINNING!

Since I found these pastas, I have been recommending them to all my clients. I am happy to say that most of them (and their children) love them. There are a few different brands out on the market, so look for brands that are organic and contain ONLY lentils or chickpeas/beans as the ingredient. I enjoy the red lentil pasta, green lentil pasta as well as the chick pea pasta. If your children are sensitive to the color of their food, opt for green lentil or chickpea pasta, because it looks closer in color to traditional white pasta, whereas the red lentil pasta is pink in color.

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 To Avoid Infections When Getting A Pedicure

Spring aka sandal and pedicure season is almost here. It’s time to head down to your nail salon and get a nice fresh pedicure to prep your feet! Pedicures can make your feet look and feel amazing, but it’s important to remember to take certain precautions when getting a pedicure to avoid infections, fungus etc. Below are a few of my favorite tried and true tips for a healthy pedicure. After getting a horrible infection many years ago, I always make sure to be extra careful!

  1. Don’t let them tamper with your cuticles. Allowing them to clip or aggressively push back your cuticles can let bacteria in and invite infection.
  2. Be sure to have the nail technician cut your nails straight across or with a slight curve. Cutting too far down on the corners can cause ingrown toenails which can lead to infection.
  3. Be sure that all pedicure instruments are sanitized in an auto clave. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them to see their sanitizing machines! Be sure to watch closely, as your instruments should come directly out of the sanitizer when they are used on your feet. Otherwise, there is no way to know for sure that they were properly cleaned.
  4. Bringing your own pedicure instruments is another great way to ensure they are cleaned. I always bring my own file, buffer and pumice stone to be sure I don’t pick up bacteria from someone else. The technicians never mind and it seems to be a common practice.
  5. Don’t shave your legs the day of your pedicure! It can open your pores, cause tiny abrasions and make you more susceptible to bacteria. I always shave the day before I go. The one time I didn’t was the time I got an infection…on my leg! The follicle was irritated from shaving and then the bacteria from the nail salon infected it. It was awful and I certainly learned my lesson.
  6. Going along with the theme of tip #5, be sure not to get a pedicure if you have an open wound, scrape, bug bite or injury in the area that will be soaked. It will leave you susceptible to infection.
  7. Be sure they properly disinfect the soaking tubs after each use. I like to visit a new salon ahead of time and watch what happens when they get new clients. Do they take the instruments directly from the sanitizer AND do they properly sanitize the foot tubs after use? Don’t be afraid to ask them what they use to clean the tubs.

Some of the less desirable conditions that one can contract as a result of a pedicure gone bad include:

  1. Fungal infections: If your nail turns yellow and starts to lift from your nail bed, this is often a sign of a fungal infection. These can be treated topically or orally with medication depending on what your health care professional feels will be most effective.
  2. Plantar warts: A viral infection that may not even show up for months after the pedicure. These are transmitted anywhere your feet get wet in a common public area, including pools, showers and nail salons. These are typically treated topically by your health care provider.
  3. Bacterial Infections: If your nail bed or the skin surrounding your toenails appears red and swollen, you may have a bacterial infection. Your health care provider may need to drain the area depending on the severity of the infection, and sometimes antibiotics are prescribed.

In order to avoid these nasty and inconvenient foot infections and fungi, be sure to take the proper precautions mentioned above.

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.

Cold Feet Can Be A Sign Of Something Serious

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits just below the thyroid cartilage. The thyroid can increase energy, warm your body and activate your immune system when necessary. If the thyroid is not functioning properly, the body can suffer a host of issues that can lead to serious health conditions.

Cold Hands & Feet: Cold hands & feet often indicate a lack of blood flow. Homocysteine is an amino acid associated with heart disease, poor blood flow, and stiff vasculature. Low thyroid activity can be associated with too much homocysteine. Asa result, the essential nutrients carried in the blood do not reach the extremities as frequently. Lack of blood flow to the extremities, like your hands and feet, can also show up as chronic fungal infections.

Immunity: If your thyroid is underactive, you are more likely to get sick often. If you are frequently getting colds and having a hard time shaking them, this could be an indication that your thyroid needs some support.

Edema: Swelling of the body can be an indication of an underactive thyroid. When related to the thyroid, this is called myxedema. Myxedema is swelling of the arms, legs, and face. When you press your finger into the flesh, and it bounces right back and leaves no mark.

If you suspect you may have an underactive thyroid, it is important to seek guidance from your doctor. They can do blood work to confirm if you have any issues and then recommend a course of action from there. If you do have an underactive thyroid, it is important to properly nourish your body. Foods that can help support your thyroid are coconut oil, fermented vegetables, sea salt and sea vegetables.

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.

Natural Remedies for Migraines

If you have ever had a migraine headache, you know it can be excruciating and debilitating. Most people turn to over the counter or prescription medication to manage the pain. Did you know there are some great natural alternatives that may help you heal the cause, rather than simply masking the symptoms?

What exactly is a migraine?  It’s a recurrent throbbing headache, usually in one side of the head, which can be accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light/sound and vomiting. Migraines can also include visual disturbances such as flashes, blotches etc.

So what are some of the ways you can manage migraines naturally?

  1. Ice packs: Ice is a great anti-inflammatory that can help to ease the pain naturally. Apply the ice pack to the source of pain for 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off as needed.
  2. Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a therapy in which thin needles are inserted into the skin at particular points. It originated in China, and is now used in many countries to treat people with migraines. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help to reduce the likelihood of migraines by up to 50% when used properly.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar/Cayenne Pepper: ACV has been said to reduce occurrence of migraines when taken daily. It can be a powerful tool to assist the body to detox. Every morning, I drink 16 oz. of warm water with 1 tsp lemon juice, sprinkle of cayenne pepper and 1 TBSP ACV to aid with digestion, inflammation and detox.
  4. Peppermint Oil or Tea: Peppermint is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory. You can drink peppermint tea daily, or apply diluted peppermint essential oils to the back of the neck, forehead or temples. It can also be helpful to place one drop of peppermint oil on your thumb and press and hold it into the roof of your mouth.
  5. Food Intolerances: Migraines can be brought on by food intolerances. If you are getting migraines regularly, try keeping a food journal. You may notice that certain foods/beverages trigger your migraines.

Often, removing processed and unhealthy foods can make big changes in your overall health. If you’re suffering regularly from migraines, doing a cleanse and cleaning up your diet can also go a long way in improving your overall health and reducing your inflammation.

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.

Do You Have Hammer Toe?

A hammer toe is a toe that is contracted at the PIP joint (middle joint in the toe), potentially leading to severe pressure and pain. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe’s joints to curl downwards. Hammer toes may occur in any toe except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe due to rubbing against the shoe. Hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types – flexible and rigid. In a flexible hammer toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be straightened manually. A rigid hammer toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses. Follow this link to learn more about hammer toe products.

Hammer toes result from a muscle imbalance which causes the ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tight. This results in the joint curling downward. Arthritis can also lead to many different forefoot deformities, including hammer toes.

Changing the type of footwear worn is a very important step in the treatment of hammer toes. When choosing a shoe, make sure the toe box (toe area) is high and broad, and can accommodate the hammer toes. A shoe with a high, broad toe box will provide enough room in the forefoot area so that there is less friction against the toes. Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products designed to relieve hammer toes, such as hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the hammer toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Gel toe shields and gel toe caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.

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Buy Men’s Casual Slip-ons with high toe-boxes: Here

cork-slipon

Buy Women’s Slip-ons with high toe-boxes: Here

Mens-Lynco

Buy Lynco Men’s orthotics: Here

Womens-Lynco

Buy Lynco Women’s orthotics: 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.