Preparing Your Feet For Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foods To Help Reduce Edema/Swelling

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

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

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

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

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

Tips For Avoiding & Treating Bunions Naturally

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

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

What Causes Bunions?

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

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

How To Treat & Prevent Bunions

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

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

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

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

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

Preventing Leg Cramps (“Charley Horses”)

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

Hydrate

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

Stretching

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

Supplementation

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

Warm Soak

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

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

The Ultimate Healthy Holiday Wish List!

For me, living a healthy lifestyle is a top priority. The holidays are a great time to stock your kitchen and pantry with gifts that will help you prepare healthy, convenient meals for your family throughout the year. So this year, I am putting together my “Ultimate Healthy Holiday Wish List!” These gifts are a great way to boost your health at home and they can all be easily found on Amazon, so just add them to your Amazon wish list and call it a day!

Instant Pot: This amazing kitchen appliance is a constant staple in my kitchen. I am not good about planning meals ahead of time and this makes it possible for me to throw something together quickly while keeping it healthy. I make a lot of soups in it (great way to sneak in veggies for the kids) as well as tons of other delicious meals and desserts.

Air Fryer: I like this version because it doesn’t use toxic non-stick coating like some. The air fryer is a great way to make some family favorites in a healthier oil-free way (think sweet potato fries, chicken cutlets etc). In my research, this is the best version that doesn’t contain the nasty non-stick coating which I always try to avoid!

Immersion Blender: This is a lifesaver for me with trying to get my kids to eat enough veggies. I make a nice batch of veggie soup and blend it all together so the kids don’t see all the veggies. It’s also great for making drinks and smoothies. I love that this tool doesn’t take up much space in the kitchen, too!

Spiralizer: I love this for making veggie noodles. I’ve made zucchini, carrot, beet, sweet potato, and even butternut squash noodles! You can sautée them, add them to soups or even eat some raw in your salad depending on what you use to make them. The kids love watching the “noodles” come out and they are much more likely to eat them when cooking is fun.

Bees Wax Wrap: I try to avoid plastic whenever possible. Bees wax wrap is a great, more natural alternative that will help to keep your food fresh. Not to mention, it cuts down on waste in the landfills since it is reusable.

Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Electric Toothbrush: I have always been a “hard” brusher when it comes to my teeth. As a result, my gums are starting to recede a bit. A dental hygienist friend of mine recommended this toothbrush which will help to train me to brush with the proper pressure by alerting me when I am brushing too hard. Definitely on my wish list this year! I gotta get my mouth in check!

Waterpik: In keeping with the theme of healthy gums, I am upping the ante and wishing for a waterpik this year. More effective than regular floss, my friend who is a hygienist said this will help to boost my gum health and strength.

Hopefully this helps to inspire you and give you some gift ideas for yourself or those you love. I wish you a Happy Holiday Season & Happy, Healthy Shopping!

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.

Prevent & Treat White Spots On Your Nails

White spots or discoloration is a common issue amongst individuals of all age groups and mostly develops around the cuticle of finger nails or toe nails. When we bump our toes on a hard surface, the impact can cause minor damage to the root of the nail, leading to whitish areas that disappear when the nail grows out.

However, in some cases white discoloration or spots under nails is a result of a more serious issue. If the discoloration in your nail does not disappear, increases in size or is associated with changes in the texture of nails (like thickening, yellowing, splitting or separation from nail-bed), you should consult a healthcare professional for an evaluation.

Apart from an obvious nail injury, there are several causes of white spots on toenails listed below that should be evaluated.

  1. Improperly Fitted Footwear: Improper footwear (use of wrong size, either too big to too small) can cause extra stress or strain on the feet, including the toenails, which can cause damage that may lead to development of white spots.
  2. Fungal Nail Infection: Some people are more prone to fungal infections than others. For example, individuals who wear shoes for long periods of time, especially in hot humid environments, are prone to develop fungal infections. Toenail fungus can be picked up in damp areas such as public gyms, shower stalls or swimming pools, and can be passed among family members. Athletes and people who wear tight-fitting shoes or tight hosiery that cause trauma to the toes or keep the feet from drying out are at higher risk. The condition can also spread from one toe to another, or to other parts of the body. Other risk factors include abnormal PH level of the skin, not drying off the feet thoroughly after bathing or exercise, and a compromised immune system in someone who has been exposed to a fungus. Diabetics have an increased risk of contracting a toenail fungus because their immune system is compromised. They should have their nails cut and debrided by a podiatrist.
  3. Nutrient Deficiency: Deficiency of certain nutrients can also be associated with changes in the texture of nails, skin, and hair. White spots on toenails are typically an indication of deficiency of calcium, an essential mineral that is associated with strong bones. In addition, zinc deficiency is also associated with changes in nail and skin.
  4. Allergy: An allergy to cosmetic products like nail enamels, thinners, nail polish removers and nail hardeners can also cause white spots on toenails because of irritation due to allergens. The allergic response may be limited to nails, but can also include skin surrounding nail surfaces.

How Can I Treat White Spots on My Toenails?

There are many wonderful natural remedies that can be tried before seeking medication to treat the white posts on your nails. The results may not happen as quickly when using natural remedies, but they can be effective over time, and much less toxic to the body.

Tea Tree Oil: The most active ingredients of tea tree oil that is responsible for its anti-fungal properties are 1.8-cineole and terpinen-4-ol. In addition to hindering fungal growth, tea tree oil is also helpful in managing the growth of other microbial agents without causing any damage to nails or surrounding skin. You can use 100% tea tree oil applied topically 3 to 4 times a daily after scraping the fungal lesions.

Vinegar Soaks: The acetic acid in vinegar is responsible for its anti- fungal properties. You can prepare a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water, then soak your feet for 30 minutes once daily to help decrease the fungal or microbial growth.

Dietary Approach: An anti-fungal diet can also help reduce fungal growth in the body overall. Eliminating foods containing sugar or sweeteners, white/processed foods, dairy and anything containing yeast/gluten can be effective. There are many versions of the Candida Diet, each with different variations, and they can be very effective in eliminating fungus from the body.

How Do I Prevent Fungus From Spreading?

Because it is difficult to treat or eradicate toenail fungus, it is a good idea to try to prevent it. It helps to wear protective shoes or sandals in public showers, pool areas and gyms, and to avoid borrowing someone else’s shoes or sharing socks or towels with someone who has toenail fungus. An orthotic device can be used to add cushioning and/or control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the lower leg muscles. Wash your feet regularly, and dry them thoroughly when they get wet. Wearing nail polish on the toes is not advised because it can seal in fungus and allow it to grow. Keep toenails trimmed, and be sure to disinfect any pedicure tools before using them. If you do develop toenail fungus, see your foot doctor.

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.

Liver & Kidney Detox Support

The holidays are officially upon us! ‘Tis the season for overindulgence. With all the high fat foods, sweets, alcohol and overeating in general, our livers are under a lot of stress this time of year.

One of my favorite ways to naturally support the liver & kidneys is by drinking Dandelion Root Tea. After an evening of overdoing it, a cup of this tea is just what the doctor ordered.

Some of the benefits of Dandelion Root Tea include:

  • Reduce the risk of UTI’s (urinary tract infections)
  • Purifies & detoxes bladder and kidneys
  • Reduce congestion of the liver
  • Improve digestion by helping break down fats, which supports weight loss
  • Purify blood, regulate blood sugar and improve circulation
  • Support healthy skin
  • Reduce bloating and aches and pains

One of my favorite brands of tea is traditional medicinals. It’s organic and doesn’t contain any added preservatives. So go – enjoy the holidays – just be sure to support your body in recovery and get yourself back on the path to wellness!

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 Could Indicate Serious Health Issues

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.

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.

Buy Men’s Cushioned Runners: Here

 

Buy Women’s Cushioned Runners: 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.

Pedicure By Fish?

Recently, I saw a few friends getting “fish pedicures” on Facebook. It peaked my interest as something that might be fun to try. But then I started wondering…could that really be good for me, or for the fish? I’m skeptical of anything that uses animals because I worry about hygiene and how the animals are treated. So I did a bit of research. I’m glad I did because now I definitely WILL NOT be seeking out a fish pedicure! I have a few issues that make this a definite NO for me!

  1. Hygiene: Anything involving live animals means there will be waste involved. When you have a tank full of live fish, they are eliminating their waste right into the tank that you are sticking your feet into. That is a breeding ground for bacteria and infections! I am definitely not comfortably marinating my feet is a basin of fish waste.
  2. Foot Diseases: There are no limits on who is permitted to get a fish pedicure, so anyone with a nail infection or toenail fungus could have soaked their feet in the very basin you are now soaking your feet in. Since there are live animals living in the basin, there is no way to empty and properly sanitize the water between clients. Not to mention that the fish themselves can carry bacteria which gets introduced into the water that your feet are soaking in.
  3. Animal Cruelty: When I did research, it turns out that the Garra Rufa fish (which is the type of fish used for pedicures) really has no interest in eating your skin out in the wild. In fact, the only reason they eat the dead skin off your feet is because they are starved and not fed while in captivity. That just seems so unfair to me! I can’t get behind anything that starves animals for our amusement.

If you’re looking for baby smooth feet, stick to a traditional pedicure where you can control the hygiene and make sure everything is sanitized!

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.