What is Reflexology and How Does It Work?

The ancient Chinese practice of reflexology is not new to the United States, but many people only know it as that “thing the therapists do with the feet.” Reflexology, sometimes called reflex therapy or zone therapy, divides the body into ten vertical zones, similar to the meridians in Chinese medicine, and the organs, valves, muscles, and so on that reside within each zone are connected through the central nervous system to pressure points on the feet, hands, or ears. There is a neurological relationship between the skin and the internal organs, and putting pressure on certain specific reflex points on the feet and sometimes the hands and ears sends a calming message throughout the central nervous system.

Reflexology relies on small and intense movements on various parts of the feet, hands, or ears—addressing the reflex points that correspond to the pain or tension felt in the body. The touch and pressure movements are specifically designed to trigger a relaxing sensory message from the body’s extremities to the organs or muscles connected by the central nervous system. The body then adjusts to the tension level to optimize the functioning of muscles and internal organs and their systems. Because of reflexology’s ability to increase blood supply, additional oxygen and nutrients can travel to cells and help remove waste. As a result, reflexology can benefit the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems.

Stress can be a leading cause of tension and muscle stiffness, and reflexology aims to alleviate the physical stress by also addressing the mind and spirit to help reduce the emotional stress. Stress can also send pain signals to the brain, even if there is no other “cause” for the pain. The brain responds to a sensory experience of pain, but it also creates a pain response as a result of emotional factors. Therefore, calming the body can ease the tension of the mind, thereby reducing pain.

There is also the theory of the body’s qi (“chee”), or its flow of vital energy. Sometimes the qi can become congested, creating inefficiencies. Stress can be one of these disruptions or “blockages,” which is why reflexology, which is designed to stimulate the passageways between the skin and the various organs and muscles, can help remove the blockages and restore the body’s natural flow.

Reflexology is less about healing, and reflexologists aren’t “healers.” The purpose of reflexology is to help the body regain its balance so that it can naturally repair and nurture itself. The body is a complex network of interconnected parts, often interdependent, and whether you want to call it balance or harmony or health, reflexology can provide a relaxing, regenerative treatment for ongoing comfort and well being.

Techniques to sooth and ward off foot cramping

Constant foot and leg cramping can be a sign of another underlying health deficiency. The most prominent catalyst for chronic foot cramps is a dietary deficiency or dehydration. In addition, if you run or walk for a long time, you’re bound to create temporary tension and involuntary contractions in your tendons and foot muscles due to stress. These minor problems normally clear up in a few days as does any muscle from exercise, strain or fatigue.
Another major reason for foot cramping is ill fitting, tight, and especially high heel shoes. Your foot and toes are compacted and all the tendons and various muscles are stuck in one spot with poor circulation.  Several signs your are wearing poorly fitted or inappropriate shoes are:

  1. Your toes graze the tip of your shoes.
    There should be a little room between your toes and you should be able to wiggle your toes. You need that bit of room because your feet swell throughout the day.
  2. Your arches ache at the end of the day. This is from too much constant pressure.
  3. You have blisters, calluses, or bruised toenails. Constant rubbing or compression will result in injury to your skin but also can lead to internal damage of the complex biomechanics of your foot. An early warning sign could be cramping but be aware this can grow into more painful harder to treat foot problems.

If you do experience foot, toe or calf cramps there are some ways to help prevent it from happening. Foot cramps typically pass quickly, but if you’re looking for some immediate relief, you can try a few things:

  • Try walking it off.
  • Take off your shoes or socks, or anything else that might be affecting your foot.
  • Massage your foot with your hands.
  • Apply heat (with a heating pad, or cloth, nothing stronger).
  • Do some simple stretches: a) flex your toes up and down or b) grab your toes and pull them towards you as far as you can, hold them a moment, then repeat until you feel the cramp passing.

If you suffer from nighttime cramps, stretch before you go to bed.

Easy stretches to keep calves and feet happy

Here are some simple stretches that can help stop pain and prevent it.

 Basic calf stretch

This calf stretch is commonly used by runners. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand with your palms placed against a wall, with arms stretched out
  2. Step back with leg of affected calf
  3. Lean forward on the other leg and push against the wall

You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle and the back of the leg.

Towel stretch

Do this stretch while you sit:

  1. Keep legs outstretched in front of you
  2. Point the toes of your affected foot at the ceiling so that the leg is engaged
  3. Take a towel or neck tie and wrap it around your foot, holding it with both hands
  4. Lift the leg slightly until you feel a good stretch

Keep cramps from happening again

Here are some tips to prevent lower extremity cramps:

  • Stay well hydrated
  • Stretch each day, especially before you exercise
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes natural sources of calcium, potassium and magnesium
  • Increase your activity level gradually

If foot cramps are occasional occurrences, you can generally manage them yourself. However, if they happen frequently, are severe, or if you are concerned any of your medications are the culprit, talk to your doctor. They could signal a medical problem that

What Causes Foot Cramps (7 Reasons and How to Stop Them)

If you’ve ever had a foot cramp, you know how uncomfortable – and even painful – it can be. Foot cramps happen when your foot muscles involuntarily contract. Foot and leg cramps (also called charley horses) are closely related. An estimated one in three adults will be affected by lower limb muscle cramps in their lifetime. As many as 60 percent of adults have suffered from nighttime foot and leg cramps during sleep. The good news is, although they can be inconvenient, these types of muscle cramps are usually harmless.
Researchers believe muscle cramping occurs when neurons in the spinal cord fire excessively. These neurons control the contraction of muscles. But what causes the neurons to over-fire in the first place? In other words, what causes foot cramps?
Foot cramping often occurs with no known cause. However, there are some medical reasons for foot cramps. Here are some of the most common causes, as well as the best ways to combat them.

Dehydration
Dehydration was once thought to be a major contributing factor for muscle cramps. Recent research has shown that mild dehydration may not be the cause of exercise-induced cramps. Still, it doesn’t hurt to keep your body hydrated. Not getting enough water in your body can cause a host of health problems. The amount of water your body needs to stay hydrated varies according to your weight, gender, and level of activity. The Institute of Medicine’s 2004 guidelines state that women should consume an average of 2.7 liters of water per day from all foods and beverages. Men should consume an average of 3.7 liters.5

Exercising Without Stretching
Most people stretch their arms and legs before they exercise, but did you know you can stretch your feet as well? Stretching your calves and feet before exercising is a great way to prevent cramping. Also, don’t exercise right after you eat. Listen to your body – especially your feet – and when you work out, don’t overdo it.

Side Effects of Some Medications
Certain medications can have the unpleasant side effect of foot and leg cramps. Examples of medicines that can cause cramping include some diuretics, antipsychotics, beta-blockers, fibrates and statins, ACE inhibitors, beta2-agonists, and angiotensin II-receptor blockers. If you suspect your medication is causing your foot cramps, talk to your doctor to see if you could be switched to a different medicine.

Age and Activity Level
Foot cramps are more common in older adults. Nerves and muscles can wear out as aging occurs, causing cramping. Stretching, staying active, and eating a nutritious diet can help older adults prevent leg cramps. People of any age who lead a sedentary lifestyle are also at higher risk for leg and foot cramps. Becoming more active, as well as losing weight, can help alleviate foot cramping for some people.

Certain Medical Conditions
Many pregnant women suffer from foot and leg cramping, particularly in the second and third trimesters. Other medical conditions that can cause foot cramping include Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, multiple sclerosis, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), and kidney disease. Talk to your doctor if you have one of these conditions and suffer from excessive foot cramps.

Nutrition Deficiency
If your body is low in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, or potassium, you could be at higher risk for foot and leg cramps. Try taking supplements of these essential nutrients, or eating their equivalency in foods, to stop cramping. Eat dairy foods for more calcium. Leafy green veggies, as well as nuts, beans, and seeds are high in magnesium. Bananas and avocados are full of potassium.
Sodium is also plays a role in foot cramping – your body needs a small amount of sodium to properly contract and relax your muscles. Although most people get more than enough sodium in their diets, you should talk to your doctor if you think you have a sodium deficiency.

Footwear
Wearing poorly fitted shoes can also cause foot cramps for some people. Many women love wearing high-heeled shoes, but these can often cause foot cramps as well. Wear supportive, comfortable shoes whenever possible.
Additional Ways to Stop Foot Cramping
Aside from the strategies mentioned with each cause of foot cramping above, there are several other things you can do for foot cramps. Massaging your feet, especially in the middle of a cramp, can help. If you are in pain, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. Cool or hot compresses can also relieve muscle pain.

In a recent study at Brigham Young University, researchers found that pickle juice was effective at stopping exercise-induced cramps once they started. Scientists aren’t sure why this worked, but they think it may have something to do with muscle fatigue.

When to Call Your Doctor
You should contact your doctor if your foot and leg cramps are severe and occur frequently. Other reasons for calling your doctor about muscle cramping include muscle weakness and atrophy and the inability to sleep because of nighttime cramps. Alcoholics who experience foot and leg cramping should seek medical care.

Although foot cramping can be a briefly painful annoyance, it is usually not serious. Take good care of your body, and you will experience less incidence of foot cramps.

Are leg and foot cramps waking you up at night? You’re not alone.

Have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night because your calf is in a painful cramp? When it happens to me, I have to swing my leg to the floor to stretch the cramp out. After one cramp, I’m usually doomed to several more the same night, in the same muscle or down in my foot.

My episodes are infrequent, but they are painful. And my experience is hardly unique.

More than half of the people responding to a nationwide survey reported experiencing nighttime leg cramps. Nearly 30 percent of adults get them at least five times per month; 6 percent get them at least 15 times per month, according to an analysis of the survey results published in the journal PLOS One in June.

Study author John Winkelman, a sleep medicine specialist at Harvard University, was not surprised by the prevalence. “Not at all,” he said. “Because I see patients, I see how common they are.”

A European group of researchers queried 516 French patients age 60 or older and found similar numbers: 46 percent reported having experienced cramps, 31 percent said cramps had awakened them and 15 percent said it happened more than three times per month.

Doctors sure hear about it from patients, but they don’t have much solid advice to give. No one really knows what causes nighttime leg cramps. “As a sleep doctor, I tell patients, We don’t understand the causes, and we don’t have good, reliable treatments,” Winkelman says. (Winkelman is an adviser to a biotech company developing an anti-cramping treatment.)

That’s not to say there’s not plenty of advice out there in Googleland. Stretching regimens, hydrating and taking vitamins are some of the things that you’ll see recommended. However, the evidence is not strong for any of them.

Stretching the calves and hamstrings right before bed did yield a benefit, a small randomized study from the Netherlands found. Eighty people older than 55 had an average of three cramps per night at the start of the study. One group practiced the stretching exercises for six weeks: Its average cramp frequency decreased to one per night. The group whose members didn’t stretch reported an average of two cramps per night at the study’s end. This could have been a placebo effect from being under observation by researchers.

A small Israeli study assessed magnesium supplements in 94 adults, half getting the real thing and half getting a placebo. Both groups experienced a similar decrease in cramp frequency, which suggests a strong placebo effect.

A small study in Taiwan found an appreciable effect with vitamin B-complex supplements in elderly people with hypertension who had frequent nighttime cramping.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

It’s not easy to study, Winkelman says. “It’s at night, during sleep — out of sight of a doctor. You can’t do a test for it.”

Also, there’s no incentive to do larger studies. That’s because the treatments that are proposed are already available, meaning they wouldn’t be profitable, and big studies are costly, says Andrew Westwood, a sleep medicine specialist at Columbia University.

One treatment that has some reasonable science supporting it is the antimalarial drug quinine.

“The best evidence is for quinine,” Westwood says. “But it’s not recommended because of its side effects.” Quinine can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, as well as fever, chills and dizziness. There are also rarer but more-serious side effects, such as severe loss of blood platelets. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against the use of quinine (brand name Qualaquin) for nighttime leg cramps.

Westwood came across a different idea serendipitously. Patients who had begun using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines for sleep apnea would volunteer to him that their nighttime cramps had gone away. Westwood and his colleagues started keeping track and published their case reports.

Westwood says it’s not clear why sleep apnea and nighttime leg cramps might be related. Still, he says, “now when patients tell me they have cramps, I think, hmm . . . sleep apnea?”

Nighttime leg cramps are more common in older people. They are sometimes related to such medical conditions as peripheral artery disease and diabetes. They also can occur as side effects of diuretics and some statins.

But often they just happen, without any obvious trigger. Doctors may suggest that patients try one of the treatments for which evidence is weak. “I have found in my clinical practice that trial and error works for most people,” says Richard Allen, a family medicine doctor at the Utah HealthCare Institute. “I’ll recommend one thing, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll recommend another. Eventually, everyone seems to find something that helps them.”

There’s little risk to doing stretching exercises before bed or taking B vitamins or magnesium. And they might work for you, at least a little.

Source: The Washington Post | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Foot cramps can be signal of other health issues

Foot cramps are caused by painful, intense, involuntary spasms or a “knotted” feeling in the muscles. They are usually short-lived or may continue on and off for a few days causing some soreness. Foot cramps most commonly occur in the arch of the foot and can also move to the toes and calf muscle as well. Although cramps are harmless in most cases, they can be caused by fatigue, reduced levels of certain chemicals, hormonal factors or illness. Cramping can occur any time day or night and can often be associated with exercise. Anyone can get them but they become more common over the age of 75.  Here we will look at the symptoms and causes of calf, toe and foot cramps.

The body needs the appropriate balance of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Foot cramps are commonly caused by imbalances in:

Calcium: helps transmit nerve impulses to the muscle cells allowing the muscles to contract and relax normally. Excessive caffeine intake, lack of vitamin D and high sodium levels can reduce calcium levels

 Vitamin E: promotes good circulation and is needed for the production of red blood cells. Lack of vitamin E can therefore reduce oxygen levels to the muscles resulting in foot cramps

Potassium: low potassium levels are known as hypokalemia and can be caused by excessive vomiting or sweating, kidney problems and medication

Vitamin D: helps absorb calcium and magnesium. Getting at least fifteen minutes of sunlight a day helps prevent a lack of vitamin D.

Magnesium: lack of magnesium locks calcium and sodium ions into the muscle, preventing it from relaxing

 Vitamin B6: is vital for health function of nerves and muscles

 More general health causes of foot, toe and leg cramps can be:

 1) Nerve Damage

Nerves transmit the signals from your brain to the muscles, telling them when to contract and relax.  If a nerve is damaged or pinched, signals cannot pass through properly correctly resulting in foot cramps.

 2)  Dehydration

Sweating reduces the levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium.  Smoking and excessive alcohol intake also increase the risk of dehydration.

 3)  Fatigue

If you have been over-working your muscles, e.g. too intensely or for too long, or your body is generally fatigued, you are more likely to develop cramp. Athletes and dancers who place more stress on their feet are more prone to foot and toe cramps, runners are more prone to calf muscle cramps.

 4)  Lack of Exercise

Being out of shape and non active can result in muscle weakness and even obesity, both of which increase the risk of muscle cramping from lack of use. It’s also more likely to cause muscle pulls when you suddenly do something strenuous.

 5)  Health Issues

Cramp may be a sign of an underlying health condition. Conditions such as Diabetes, thyroid problems, anemia, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s all increase the risk of foot cramps.

Generally speaking, if you experience chronic foot and muscle cramps then it’s time to see a doctor. It’s best to see a Podiatrist who can evaluate your feet to make sure there is no underlying injury and from there recommend how to determine further treatments.

 

Starting Summer on the Right Foot

Today more than ever, sandals are the norm in the warm weather, and more acceptable in the workplace. Your comfort, wellness and feet go hand in hand. One important factor to consider is the health and safety of your feet to suit your active lifestyle.

Our feet contain numerous bones and and joints all connected by hundreds of muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. This complex “bio machinery” works in an amazing dynamic motion that bears literally tons of weight and force as we go about our daily routines and activities. Not surprisingly most everyone experiences some form of foot pain or foot discomfort at some point do due improper protection.

A very important factor to consider is the amount of stress your feet will incur with no protection from an open sandal. Besides outside objects coming into contact with your bare foot, the base of your sandal needs to be a good shock absorber and structurally sound to keep your feet working well.

Problems with aching arches, stubbed toes, or toenail pain and problems, ankle soreness and even foot cramps after wearing unsupported footwear such as sandals. But we all know the glorious benefits of having our feet free of confining shoes and breathing in the open air. Before going out and enjoying the outdoors just give an extra moment to take precaution against untimely injury that could have been prevented. Most foot problems caused by repeated pressure and deficiency that does not surface right away but rather builds slowly until you suddenly experience pain and discomfort, and then it is too late.

Orthotic based footwear (which basically means specially designed to aid in your foot safety and comfort) is available in great looking styles for every season. They are lightweight, fashionable, and created with advanced foot orthotic technology to ensure optimal performance and durability. The best part is that you will definitely feel the difference in comfort and know you are taking care of your feet without sacrificing your favorite look and style.

Successful Summer Foot Care Tips

5 easy things to remember for your active days

  1. Wear wicking socks when exercising. Unlike cotton or blends, wicking socks take the moisture away from skin and help it breathe easier. They provide a better environment for your feet that bear a lot of weight and strain, especially in the Summer heat.
  2. Remove athletic shoes and socks after immediately after working out. Take out your shoe’s removable liner; otherwise, the shoe will stay wet between it and the sole. Rinse the liner lightly allow to dry in or outside. For all activities we recommend you utilize the benefits of an orthotic which delivers extra care and performance than standard shoe liners. Make sure you open up the your athletic shoes really well. Crumple newspaper into the shoe, which will help absorb moisture and keep the shoes spread.
  3. Stretch your feet to prevent strains. Roll a ball around your arch to stretch your muscles. Also, sit down, bring the soles of your feet together and intertwine your toes.
  4. Pay attention if your foot hurts. Anything that happens to your feet affects the rest of your body as well. If one foot is hurting, then you can start to put more stress and pressure on the opposite foot, which can cause a bigger injury in your leg, knee or even hip. If persistent pain and immobility exists that is a signal to see a Podiatrist to for proper evaluation. It’s always better be proactive rather than wait until the potential problem grows into something bigger, and more painful.
  5. Employ smart hygiene. Let’s face it we have all seen some pretty bad looking feet and it’s easy to ignore them since they are far away from our line of sight, but make sure you’re washing your feet properly. It takes a little more time but take care, especially in Summer, to clean in between the toes and a give a good scrub on your foot bottom with a soapy wash cloth. In addition, it feels good and is healthy to soak your feet in warm water with a little Epson salt which also helps remove any odor too. Keep your toenails clean underneath and trimmed to avoid a painful tear or pull on your cuticle or nail bed, or infection.

Following these quick basic tips can help to avoid discomfort and possible injury later on. Most problems only surface after repeated ill conditions over time and then it’s too late and your condition turns into a timely, and most likely costly, medical treatment.

Finding the Right Flip-Flop

Wearing flip-flops too often can lead to minor problems such as chafing, blisters, calluses, soreness and to more serious issues such as Plantar Fasciitis (inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot), hammer toes and stress fractures. Not to worry though, there is an excellent solution from Aetrex that addresses your foot health while providing the ease and flexibility of flip-flops.

Aetrex has pioneered and outperforms all others with their technically advanced Lynco Flip sandals. The design employs soft, UltraSKY™ injected EVA foam that provides extreme comfort and durability. Plus, the dual density outsole provides extra cushioning to the heel and ball-of-foot, among other features. Aetrex Flips eliminate the potential problems and guess what? They look and feel amazing!
Lynco Flips give you all the benefits of arch support and cushiony comfort plus the convenience you love about slipping into a pair of flip-flops (not sure ours actually make that “flip-flop” sound though, which may be a good thing!) Once you take a few steps you will notice the difference and know you are taking care of your feet which is vital to your mobility and well-being.

7 Benefits of Aetrex Flips for a people who train
• Flips support the arch and keep our body aligned.
• Use Flips as a recovery after sport activities.
• Flips help hold the subtalar joint from rolling in.
• Flips medial posting will help reduce over pronation.
• Metatarsal Pad helps to reduce stress from the ball of foot.
• Flips help recover from Plantar Fasciitis.
• Flips help people avoid setbacks.

7 Benefits of Aetrex Lynco Flips for those seeking overall healthy comfort
• Flips support the arch and keep your body biomechanically aligned.
• Flips help us with better balance and stability.
• Flips help to meet the ground with ease thus reducing force
• Metatarsal Pad helps to reduce stress from the ball of foot.
• Flips help with shock absorption.
• Soft metatarsal cushion reduces stress at forefoot.
• Extra soft toe post for a comfortable wear.

Give yourself the benefit of quality foot wear!
For more information, go to aetrex.com for full details.

 

Flip-flops: Fun in the Sun, but Tough on Feet

 

Americans love flip-flops — just slip them on, and you’re out the door. But, the unstructured footwear can cause problems, one expert says.

“This time of year I frequently see patients with foot conditions related to wearing flip-flops,” Dr. Christina Long, a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a center news release.

“Wearing flip-flops is better than going barefoot because they do provide some protection for the bottoms of your feet, but that’s about it,” she said.

“Flip-flops don’t offer any arch or heel support, and you have to grip them with your toes to keep them on. Wearing them for too long or for the wrong activity can cause a lot of different problems,” she explained.

Flip-flops leave feet exposed and susceptible to cuts, puncture wounds, bruises, torn nails, insect bites and sunburn. Walking in flip-flops also can alter your natural stride, resulting in shin splints, Achilles tendon problems and lower back pain.

It’s also easy to stub a toe or trip and fall while wearing flip-flops.

Wearing flip-flops too often can lead to minor problems such as chafing, blisters, calluses, soreness to more serious issues such as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot), hammer toes and stress fractures, Long said.

But Long added that the popular footwear is OK if you’re wearing them for a brief time.

“Flip-flops are fine for short-term use, especially if they have at least some arch support and a cushioned sole. They’re good to wear at the beach, around swimming pools, in showers and locker rooms at the gym, on short trips to the store,” she said.

If you want to wear flip-flops, look for those made of high-quality, soft leather, which minimize the potential for blisters and other types of irritation, the American Podiatric Medical Association recommends.

Gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring that it bends at the ball of the foot — it should not fold in half — and make sure your foot doesn’t hang off the edge of the flip-flop. The APMA added that all of your shoes — not just flip flops — should be slightly bigger than your feet.

Inspect older flip-flops and throw them away if they show signs of severe wear.

There are some activities where you should forgo the flip-flops, however. Driving is one of them. Long said it’s easy for the shoes to slip off and they can get lodged between the pedals and the floor.

Also, she said, leave your flip-flops in the closet if you plan on running, hiking, walking long distances, standing for extended periods, working in the yard or around the house or playing sports.

Source: USNews.com | Not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Bunions Surgery & Recovery

A bunion, a growth of bone and soft tissue on the joint of your big toe, develops from a condition called hallux valgus, in which the bone turns outwards, forcing the big toe into the second toe. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, or AAOS, says that the major cause of bunions is overly tight shoes; the condition is nine times more common in women than men.

Taking care of your feet by avoiding shoes with narrow toe boxes after surgery will help to prevent future bunions. Also, wearing shoes that are designed for optimal support and structure can help you move more comfortably and ward off future foot ailments. However, if a bunion is very painful, you may require surgery.

If you choose bunion removal surgery the good news is that a highly successful procedure that can be done in several hours as an outpatient.

What to expect if you decide to have bunion surgically fixed

Before anything, talk to your doctor about measures you can take to ensure your foot heals correctly because this is a long term healing process after your surgery.
While recovery after bunion surgery takes about six to eight weeks, full recovery from bunion removal surgery can take an average of four to six months. For the first two weeks following your surgery, you’ll wear a surgical boot or cast to protect your foot. You should avoid getting your stitches wet. Caring for the incision properly can help prevent infection and promote healing.

After removing the cast or boot, you’ll wear a brace to support your foot while you heal. You won’t be able to bear weight on your foot at first, and you’ll need crutches for assistance. Gradually, you can start putting some weight on your foot, using a walker or crutches for support. Keep off your feet as much as you can, and ice your foot and toe to speed healing and reduce inflammation. After a week or two, you can drive if necessary.

Expect your foot to remain swollen to some degree for several months after bunion removal. Wear shoes with ample room to minimize your pain. Women should try to avoid wearing high heels for at least six months after bunion removal. Your doctor may send you to physical therapy, where you’ll learn exercises that can strengthen your foot and lower leg.

Medical Aftercare

See the surgeon regularly for a few months following your bunion surgery. Your foot will be bandaged, and you may also have a postoperative shoe or cast to protect it. Not only will stitches have to be removed — usually in two weeks — but Bunion Surgery Recovery states that the surgeon will need to change the bandages to check for infection and ensure that the first metatarsal bone is properly aligned. It is important to keep the dressing dry. The AAOS recommends covering your foot with a plastic bag when showering or bathing, and watching the dressing for signs of bleeding or drainage. If the dressing gets wet or starts to come off, call your doctor for instructions.

Post-Surgical Self-Care

For the first few days after surgery, the AAOS advises keeping your foot elevated and applying ice as your doctor recommends. You should stay off your feet for 3 to 5 days after your surgery. The AAOS advises using a walker, cane or crutches to get around. Follow your doctor’s recommendations exactly for any medications you have been given.

Signs of Infection

Be alert for signs of infection, which can include fever, chills, and a feeling of persistent heat or warmth in the affected foot. The AAOS says that persistent or worsening pain can also be a sign of infection, as can a swelling in the calf of the affected foot.

Later Recovery

After the dressings are removed, you can return to wearing shoes; take care that they allow your feet plenty of room. Premier Podiatry notes that 60 percent of patients will be able to resume wearing shoes in 6 weeks, with 90 percent able to wear shoes at 8 weeks after surgery. The AAOS recommends wearing athletic shoes or soft moccasin or oxford-type footwear, and gradually putting more weight on your foot and walking farther as your incision heals. Do not wear high heels. You should also wait 1 to 2 months to begin driving again, and refrain from driving until you feel confident that you can come to an emergency stop. It’s also good to notify your insurance company. If your surgeon has opted to use a plaster cast, the recovery process will be slower. When the cast is removed, your surgeon may have you wear a walking boot; you can then gradually return to walking over the next 2 to 6 weeks.

Change in Future Footwear

Certain types of footwear may increase bunion pain. High-heeled shoes increase pressure on the front of your feet, decreasing the amount of space available for your toes. Wearing flat-soled shoes that are wide through the toe area may relieve pressure on your bunions, decreasing pain. Abnormal walking patterns may contribute to your bunion pain. In these cases, an orthotic can reduce pain caused by your bunion.

Medication

Pain and swelling caused by your bunion and the subsequent surgery can interfere with daily life. In these situations medications may help reduce pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter or prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be taken, as directed by your doctor.
With patience and allowing your body to take care of itself, your road to recovery will end up a smooth one.

 

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