Posts for tag: health tips
Warts are unsightly and bothersome. While they may not be dangerous, they should still be removed by a trained professional and not treated at home with wives tales and OTC solutions. A wart on the bottom of the foot is called a plantar wart and is the most common place to form a wart. These appear as raised and callused pieces of skin, often with multiple black dots caused by clotted capillaries.
What are warts?
A wart, in the simplest definition, is a skin infection. Verruca Plantaris, a form of the HPV virus, causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, creating a raised mound. While it is only a superficial condition, it will not resolve on its own. Over one half of the population will experience a wart at some point in their life.
How do you get warts?
Don’t worry about picking up any toads; they don’t cause warts. Warts are caused by direct contact with the virus. It may enter the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. Even simple issues such as cracked heels can give the virus a chance to enter your skin. Warts are communicable and can spread to others or different parts of your body. Symptoms may not manifest for weeks or even years after contact.
READ MORE: Cracked Heels in the Summer
How is it treated?
Warts are unsightly but not immediately dangerous to your health. Still, it is important that they are removed, so they do not spread. Home remedies should be avoided. Touching the wart will spread the virus, freezing it off could cause skin damage, acid is just a bad idea altogether. If you are diabetic or have any issues with foot and ankle circulation, you should not treat infections at home. Only your podiatrist can ensure your wart is taken care of safely and effectively.
READ MORE: Summer Ready Feet Today!
For many people, swollen feet and ankles after a long day at work are nothing new, but for someone suffering from Venous Insufficiency, swelling can be painful and dangerous. Venous Insufficiency refers to a valve malfunction in the veins of the legs that inhibits upward movement of blood. If left untreated, it can lead to varicose veins and leg ulcers.
READ MORE: Venous Insufficiency
Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and revitalizing the circulatory system. For most people this will involve losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. All of these actions help to strengthen your heart and keep your blood flowing properly. Avoid sitting or standing for too long so that blood does not pool in the legs. If you are sitting, elevate your calves, ankles, and feet above the level of your thighs; when lying down, keep them above the level of your heart.
There are no medications to treat venous insufficiency, but antibiotics may be needed to treat skin infections. Practicing good skin hygiene can help avoid additional complications. Compression stockings are considered the most effective treatment for relieving swelling and pain. Store bought compression socks may help many people, but those living with venous insufficiency require socks with higher compression strengths and graduated designs that start tightest at the ankle and lessen power as they go up the leg.
Do not use elastic bandages or wraps as these may block circulation rather than assisting it. Avoid stockings or socks that bunch up and cut off blood flow and be sure to wash and dry them after each use to keep skin healthy and infection free. Treating the secondary factors of this disease is key to continued health.
READ MORE: Two Sides of Circulation
If you have significant swelling in the feet and ankles, a feeling of heaviness in your legs, or see increasing numbers of varicose veins call the FAAWC today. Early diagnosis and treatment can help keep you healthy and active.
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.
Gout is a painful arthritic condition that affects nearly 4% of the world’s population, yet most people don’t recognize a gout attack when it happens. Pretty surprising for a disease that was first identified in 2640BC.
Gout, also called hyperuricemia, is brought on by high levels of uric acid which form crystals in the body. Uric acid is needed to break down purines, a chemical compound found naturally in many foods. Some bodies produce too much uric acid, and instead of being used, it builds up in the metatarsal joint of your big toe.
Symptoms include sudden and intense pain with redness and swelling. Attacks often happen at night and create tenderness so acute it’s painful to even lay the bedsheets over your toe. Lavish and decadent foods such as bacon, veal, scallops, and alcohol (particularly beer) have high levels of purines and can trigger the condition.
READ MORE ABOUT GOUT: My Big Toe Hurts
Many first-time gout sufferers delay treatment and eventually end up in an urgent care for pain relief. No need! Corticosteroid injections are available in-office and reduce swelling and pain almost immediately. Next, your podiatrist will work with you to form a plan to manage your gout.
The good news is that gout attacks are easily avoidable with dietary changes or oral medications. The bad news is that without treatment, the potential for an attack is always present because the internal process that leads to gout cannot be corrected.
If you are suffering from an attack, don’t delay your treatment. Gout can be indicative of cardiovascular issues or kidney damage. Know the signs and symptoms, so there’s no doubt in your mind about gout.
Ok so I'm exaggerating, but the health of your feet is often a good indicator of your overall health so when something seems wrong with your feet, it may have started elsewhere. Let’s look at a few signs our feet may tell us and what they may mean for our overall health:
- Skin and nails
Many people have dry feet and we just put up with it as a side effect of our feet being feet, but dryness in not normal. If you have dry feet no matter how much you moisturize, have your thyroid checked. A misbehaving thyroid can cause extreme skin dryness and even cracking of the toenails. Check your nails too. Do you see small pits or curves in your nails? These could be signs of psoriasis, anemia, or even lupus. But don’t jump to conclusions, only a podiatrist or other physician can definitively diagnose these conditions.
Do you have bald toes? Are your feet cold all of the time? These could be indications of poor circulation. Most people know when they have a serious vascular disease (PAD, arteriosclerosis, etc), but if you once had hairy toes and now they are smooth, this could indicate that your circulation is declining. Cold feet can also be another indicator of a pesky thyroid.
Did you wake up with a bright red, hot, and painful big toe? That would be gout, an inflammatory disease that’s a cousin to arthritis. How about sudden clubbing – swelling of the digits creating a ‘rounded’ look to feet and toes? This could indicate a serious lung infection, intestinal disease (like Crohns), or even lung cancer. Watch the tips of your toes specifically and if you see swelling that just won’t go away, see your podiatrist. Just like vascular diseases though, most people know they have a greater health issue before they see these symptoms.
- Persistent sores or numbness
Both of these are strong indicators of diabetes. If you see sores or injuries on your feet (particularly the bottom) that just wont seem to heal or you suddenly start experiencing pins and needles sensations in your feet, have your blood sugar checked. Don’t put this one off either, when left untreated (meaning managing your diabetes) a foot ulcer can worsen over time creating infection. In fact, 6% of people with chronic ulcers end up hospitalized from complications.
I say it over and over again, but pain is never normal! If you experience pain of any sort in your feet, go get it checked. Having pain around your joints? Could be an early indication of arthritis. Constantly cramping up? Could be dehydration or a mineral insufficiency of potassium, calcium, magnesium, or sodium. If your feet hurt all the time and become very painful to walk on you could be losing bone density, an early indication of osteoporosis.
There are all sorts of incredible things your feet can tell you (even if they aren’t really predicting the future) so pay attention to them. Examine your skin and nails for abnormalities, watch for sores or discolorations, and remember that pain in your feet is not normal! Start by seeing your podiatrist to rule out a directly related foot injury or disease then see your primary care physician to continue routine health monitoring. Your feet can tell you a lot if you just stop and listen.