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Posts for tag: bunions

If the world is lacking in anything, it certainly isn't health advice. Everywhere you turn thare are articles, talk shows, and videos promoting exercise, healthy eating, meditation and more. You are, in fact, reading a blog right now that aims to give you health advice. It's everywhere!

With so much information, it can be difficult to remember every tip your read or hear. When it comes to your foot health, if you only remember one thing, remember to stretch. Stretching your feet, ankles, and legs before and after workouts can prevent injury and relieve pain. Daily repetition can increase flexibility, relax tendons, and strengthen muscles.

Begin with your lower leg. The medical term for abnormally or uncomfortably tight calf muscles is Equinus. A person with this condition would be unable to bend the top of their foot toward their shin. Such limited mobility will force the body to compensate when walking. Your arches may fall, or you may be tempted to toe-walk to avoid discomfort. These modifications in gait may lead to plantar fasciitis, leg cramping, tendonitis, ankle pain, and more. Heel lifts and wall stretches can loosen tight calves.

READ MORE: Your Achilles Heel

Next, your ankles need a little attention. Stretching and exercising your ankles will keep ligaments strong and flexible which helps avoid ankle sprains during activity. Overuse and chronic inflammation of the ankle joint can lead to osteoarthritis. Stretching may relieve joint pain due to arthritis and promote healthy circulation. Try drawing the alphabet in the air with your foot. Point your foot and hold for one minute then flex for one minute. Repeat this three to five times. Flexible ankles are important to maintaining an active lifestyle.

READ MORE: Chronic Ankle Instability

Finally, you’ll want to exercise your toes. Bunions, hammertoes, arthritis and more can plague your tootsies if you don’t stretch them. With no shoes or socks on, spread your toes as wide as you can, hold for 10 seconds then relax and repeat ten times on each foot. Improve flexibility and dexterity by picking up small objects with your toes. Challenge yourself to move pencils or marbles into a cup. Keeping toes strong can prevent strain and injury.

READ MORE: Hammertoes

It’s not uncommon to feel soreness when your first start stretching, but if you feel pain, call the FAAWC to make an appointment. If you’ve had a recent injury to your foot or ankle, check with your podiatrist before starting a stretching regimen.

This Saturday we celebrate Veteran’s Day, a day to show appreciation for all the men and women in our armed forces who risk their lives for our freedom and safety. Unfortunately, veterans are also sacrificing their foot health for us. One study found that “flatfoot deformity and arthritis were significantly more prevalent in veterans versus nonveterans” (https://goo.gl/WX88Uo). In addition, male veterans have significantly more bunion deformities than male nonveterans and female veterans were more likely to suffer sprains. The goal of the study was to form guidelines for soldiers to help prevent these common veteran foot problems. Whether you’re a soldier or not, let’s take a look at how to prevent these common podiatric problems.

 

Flatfoot Deformity

It’s possible for your feet to go flat of your own doing. This is called Acquired Adult Flatfoot Deformity (AAFD). There is no single cause for this deformity; it occurs from the daily wear and tear of walking and running, which soldiers certainly do a lot of. As we walk, the posterior tibial tendon (the one that connects the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot) rolls our foot inward and keeps our arches raised. If we overuse this tendon, our feet can go flat. Proper arch support through insoles, orthotics, and choosing good footwear is the best prevention method for this deformity.

 

Arthritis

There are over 100 different forms of arthritis, but soldiers are particularly susceptible to two of these: osteoarthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs from the slow disintegration of the protective layer between our bones. It can take a lot to make this happen, but veterans have been through a lot. Post-traumatic arthritis generally occurs as a result of other foot injuries such as dislocations and fractures, which soldiers suffer plenty of. The best way to avoid giving yourself arthritis is to keep your weight down, wear supportive shoes, and exercise your feet. If you’re just standing around, get into a light lunge and stretch that Achilles tendon. Try picking up things with your toes to keep your joints mobile and healthy.

 

Bunions

If you want to get technical, a deformity of the bone at the base of your big toe is called hallux valgus, but know them better as bunions. Bunions are tricky suckers because doctors still don’t know the exact cause. Some bunions can form from trauma, others are blamed on genetics, while still others can form from abnormal biomechanics. Shoes don’t directly cause bunions, but podiatrists still agree that a good prevention method is to wear shoes with a wide toe box that avoid squeezing the big toe out of alignment. The only other prevention method is to make sure you see your podiatrist regularly and especially if you experience any pain or visible deformity of your joint.

 

Sprains

Female service members were found to be more likely than non-military females to suffer from chronic ankle sprains. Luckily, there are a lot of prevention methods for avoiding these injuries. Keeping your foot, ankle, and calf muscles strong can allow for better control over our gait and thus help us maintain a proper stride. If you know you are going to be active and you are susceptible to ankle sprains, you may consider wearing a supportive ankle brace or learning some new taping techniques on your next podiatrist visit. As with all health issues, it helps to maintain a healthy weight and get all your vitamins and minerals to strengthen bones and keep you going without injury.

 

Don’t forget to thank a veteran this Saturday. His or her feet have done a lot for you.

August 21st is Senior Citizens day. After a certain age it seems there aren’t many milestones to hit before we start getting the senior citizen discount, but being a senior citizen can come with serious foot complications. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 seniors deal with foot problems needing medical treatment. Here’s a look at the most common foot ailments for those over 65 and some tips on how to keep your feet healthy before you reach that important milestone.

Bunions

As we know (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while), a bunion is a bony growth at the base of the big toe. Bunions are in actuality, a misalignment of the big toe joint, which means they will form very slowly over time from constant pressure. Of course, as senior citizens they have had plenty of time for these to develop. The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but can stem from trauma to the foot, genetic predisposition, or arthritis. Some bunions may have no symptoms whatsoever, but usually patients will experience tenderness, redness, and of course pain. Bunions tend to affect women more than men since tight high heels that squeeze the toes together are thought to contribute to bunion formation and symptoms. For seniors, bunions can represent a big problem, as they can either be a side effect of arthritis or even lead to chronic arthritic pain in the bunion. Some of the best ways to avoid bunion complications in later life are to make sure you are wearing proper footwear that gives your toes space, take care of existing bunions now before you develop pain, and take extra special care if you have genetic inclinations for foot deformities or arthritis. With proper care now, you can avoid bunions as a senior.

Toenail Problems

As we age, our aches and pains become more noticeable and many seniors have trouble reaching their feet. This can mean all sorts of things for your toenails. If you can’t see or never look at your feet you may miss all sorts of things such as fungal nails, ingrown toenails, and diabetic sores. Make sure you are washing your feet with soap; scrubbing lightly with pumice stone when necessary, and keep your toenails neatly trimmed. If you have trouble doing this yourself, don’t hesitate to visit our PediCare salon. It isn’t your standard pedicure; performed by certified medical nail technicians, this goes way beyond beauty. Basic service includes the One Half-hour PediCare: A no-frills service that includes toenail trimming, callus and corn reduction and the post-service application of moisturizer – $35. Take care of yourself now to maintain the healthy feet you need to carry you into your senior citizenship smoothly.

Arthritis and Diabetes

Sometimes old age can bring along some serious complications like diabetes and arthritis. Both of these diseases need medical attention as they have serious complications for you feet. Arthritis occurs from gradual wear and tear on the foot over a long time. In fact, out of all the age groups surveyed, the 65 and older crowd came in first with nearly 50% of participants reporting doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Pain, stiffness, and progressive foot deformities can be signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Diabetes progresses differently. Instead of your feet erupting in pain, you may slowly lose all feeling and have trouble distinguishing hot and cold or even be numb to painful wounds. Not only does diabetes cause loss of feeling, leaving foot ailments unnoticed, but it also cuts off full oxygen supply in the peripheral nerves making existing wounds slow to heal. Easy ways to combat these wounds is to manage diabetes through a plan with your primary care physician. Make seeing a podiatrist part of that plan. Check your feet, wash them well, use non-impact exercise, and fight existing foot ailments immediately.

The best way to ensure you remain, dancing, running, swimming, or even just lounging your way into old age is to take care of your feet early. We are taught to have annual checkups from a family physician, optometrist, and dentist. Why would you not add podiatrist to that list considering your feet are the foundation to a healthy life? Don’t wait until you start getting the senior citizen discount to think about your feet. Your feet will thank you.

September 29, 2016
Category: Uncategorized

We have covered a lot of topics in our past blog posts, but something we haven’t really touched on is actually one of the most common foot ailments: Bunions. With over 3 million cases each year in the United States alone, bunions (aka. hallux valgus) are a common sight in podiatry offices.

A bunion occurs when the big toe pushes against the adjoining toes, forcing the big toe joint (metatarsophalangeal joint) outward. This creates a visible deformity of the foot and can be accompanied by redness, swelling, pain, and stiffness. Since this deformity can become quite pronounced, many people are able to “self-diagnose” the issue. As you can see in this photo, along with a bad case of farmers-tan, this gentleman probably noticed his bunions and sought treatment from his podiatrist.

There is a debate in the podiatric community about the cause of bunions. On the one side, podiatrists argue that bunions are formed due to genetic conditions such as flat feet, abnormal bone structure, or even certain neurological conditions. On the other side, we have those who say tight or ill-fitting footwear is the sole cause. This view tends to have the stronger following and is backed up by research. In a study of cultures that did not wear shoes, no bunions were found. That’s a pretty strong argument.

So, does this mean that everyone who wears shoes could form a bunion? Well, no, but with certain shoes, absolutely yes. Just as water slowly wears down rock, constant pressure from your shoes can force your toes to move in unnatural directions. Pointed toe shoes tend to be the biggest culprit. Shoes that are too narrow will eventually push your big toe towards or even over or under the adjoining toes. As this happens, the joint protrudes and becomes irritated. The large visible bump is partially caused by an inflamed bursal sac. Bunions may also occur on the outer side of the foot at the base of the little toe. This is called a Tailor’s Bunion.

READ MORE: Bursitis

So, what do I do if I have a bunion? Well, the first thing to do is go see your podiatrist. Even before you see a bump, if you have consistent pain in your big toe joint, make an appointment. For some bunions, treatment can be as simple as changing the type of shoes you wear or adding orthotics and padding. However, these options treat the symptoms and prevent worsening of the bunion, they do not take care of the underlying problem. For that, a simple surgical procedure may be required. Options include shaving down the bony protrusion and realigning the big toe into its proper position. Your podiatrist will discuss all the options with you and help choose the best procedure for your exact condition. Surgeries are typically outpatient procedures with a 6 to 8 week recovery time, during which crutches or orthopedic casts may be used.

If you have pain, redness, stiffness, or protrusion at the base of your big toe, go see your podiatrist. Early treatment means better healing and foot health. Don’t live your life with pain! (And don’t wear tight shoes!)

photo credit: Badly Drawn Dad <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/249661028">20060903_Pre-Op</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>

I will be the first to admit that I am a proud person and sometimes have trouble asking for help when I need it. I’m sure you know people who are like this or maybe you are one yourself, but you may not realize that almost everyone takes this same attitude toward their foot health. Sometimes our feet need a helping hand or in a lot of cases a helping orthotic. Orthotics come in many varieties, but two terms you will hear are “functional” orthotics and “accommodative” orthotics. For today, we are going to look at functional orthotics.

A functional orthotic is exactly what it sounds like; the orthotic helps your foot function in a normal fashion. Not many people have a perfect foot strike. That means that most of us, often without our knowledge, don’t walk perfectly upright with an even distribution of weight around the foot. Issues like these can lead to all sorts of ailments such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and neuromas. If you have one of these conditions, your podiatrist may recommend a custom molded orthotic.

Let’s talk for a short second about custom versus generic orthotics. Whenever consumers hear the word “custom” they automatically associate it with “expensive”. Sadly, this is often true. The FAAWC carries a wide variety of generic orthotics and we will always steer you toward that option first if we can. Not all foot problems can be helped with something directly off the shelf, but if yours can, we can help you pick out the best size and shape for you and your problems.

The whole idea behind a functional orthotic is that it places your foot in a more natural position where the tendons and muscles and ligaments are aligned for maximum efficiency and comfort. If you have a high arch, the orthotic will fill in the gaps and help your foot strike the ground evenly. Do you overpronate? An orthotic can help turn your foot to the correct positioning and avoid uncomfortable things like bunions. Functional orthotics are designed to make your foot act exactly as it should under ideal circumstances. And after all, don’t we all want to perform at our best?

The molding process is easy; all you have to do is stand up in a box filled with blue foam and your exact foot map will be created. Most custom orthotics will arrive within a week, which means you will be on your way to better foot health in no time. Isn’t that what we all want in the end?

Stay tuned next week to hear about accommodative orthotics!