Blog

Posts for tag: healthy lifestyle

    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.

 

        Every year December 31st rolls around and most of us have to think back on what it was we resolved to do 364 days ago, but never accomplished. Why are New Year’s resolutions a thing if no one ever sticks with them? Well, because we all want to believe in the power we have to change ourselves. Change doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t start easy. Have you ever decided to make a big change and initiated it then and there? Be honest, you probably told yourself it was better to start that diet on Monday so you’d wait until after the weekend. This is the same psychology that makes us believe starting a new year will magically help us stick to our changes. But a date on the calendar has absolutely no bearing on how well we achieve our resolutions, that’s all about behavior and habit. Here are some easy ways you can be sure to stick to your resolution this year.

Set SMART Goals

Those in the business and academic world will know that a SMART goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Goals that meet these criteria are twice as likely to be achieved than lofty ideas. For example, losing weight is a common resolution, but this broad statement is not a SMART goal. A better resolution is to say you want to start taking a 20 minute walk twice a week until you lose 10 pounds or three months pass and then increase your walking to three times a week. This goal has an exact plan to follow and a timeline to help you keep the habit.

Don’t Try To Do Too Much

Picking one goal, such as remembering to floss twice a day, is a much better idea than trying to floss, go jogging, do meal prep on Sundays for the week, volunteer more, and a while bunch of other things. Changes take time and concentration, but if you give yourself too much to focus on then the likelihood of you completing even a single one of your many goals goes down dramatically. It’s better to succeed at one than fail at many.

Tell People

One of the best ways to achieve a goal is to be held accountable for it. This year, put your new years resolution up on Facebook and post updates to keep yourself going. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers who may then check in with your progress later, keeping your resolution going longer. Who knows, they may even have the same resolution as you and could be your buddy for the journey.

 

Whether it’s eating better, trying to stay in touch with family more, or getting through a yearly reading list, setting a new years resolution is a great idea, but be SMART, pick just one, and be held accountable for it. If you don’t achieve it, no problem, you don’t have to wait for January 31st to roll around to start again. Keep resolving for a better you in 2018 and you’ll be sure to achieve your goals.

 

November is American Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a word we hear all the time, but how many of us really know that much about it? To kick off this awareness month, let’s take a look at what diabetes is, how to recognize it, and what it means for our feet. To start, it’s important to know that there are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 is hereditary and there is no way to calculate your risks of having it. In type 1 diabetes, the body destroys the cells that produce insulin and eventually the body stops producing insulin altogether. When the body needs energy, it takes sugars and starches and turns them into glucose. This glucose must be transferred between your blood and tissue cells by a hormone called insulin. If the body stops producing this, we must supplement with insulin shots. Only 5% of people with diabetes have type 1 and it is generally diagnosed in children and young adults.

With type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but can’t use it properly. This is called insulin resistance. Surprisingly, scientists don’t know the exact cause of type 2 diabetes (sadly, scientists don’t know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes either, but research is under way to find the source and eventually work towards a cure), but there are specific pre-existing conditions and risk factors that can increase your likelihood of type 2 diabetes. These include: history of hyperglycemia, obesity, physical inactivity, genetics, age, and high blood pressure, to name a few.

Although they differ slightly, both types of diabetes can lead to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. If a patient’s glucose levels get too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) they may experience extreme thirst, frequent urination, general weakness, persistent exhaustion, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, and even a stroke or heart attack.

Management of symptoms is similar for both types of diabetes. People living with type 1 diabetes can manage their health with a combination of insulin shots, well-planned meals, and a fair amount of exercise. Type 2 diabetes requires similar treatment, but oral medications are prescribed in place of insulin.

Folks living with diabetes need to pay special attention to their feet. Frequent hyperglycemic attacks can reduce blood flow and cause nerve damage, meaning any potential foot problems may go unnoticed until they have seriously progressed. If you have diabetes and have not seen a podiatrist lately, we recommend making an appointment immediately. Early prevention and recognition of problems will lead to prolonged foot health and help you avoid future foot issues.

The now super famous (and infamous) Pokémon Go app was released to the public on July 17th and it’s going to be a great thing for podiatrists…. though not really for their patients.

For those who don’t know, Pokémon Go is a free downloadable app for iPhone and android devices that brings hunting for Pokémon to the real world around you. Users are encouraged to go outside and walk their neighborhoods and cities to find Pokémon, pokestops (areas of interest around the city, usually pieces of art), and meet other Pokémon players. The theory behind this game is brilliant (and I must admit, the game itself is fun). Never before has a video game encouraged its users to be so active and social. However, with special incubators that hatch Pokémon eggs only after you walk certain distances (either 2km or 5km), millions of people who are used to a sedentary gaming lifestyle are suddenly getting up and walking around. And this means big changes for their feet.

We have talked in the past about protecting our feet while we exercise and slowly ramping up levels of activity, but let’s take another look at a few key things that may affect all you Pokémon Go players out there who are suddenly getting active:

  1. Stress fractures

This is a real concern for gamers who may not be used to heavy exercise or may underestimate the distances they are going and the impact on their feet. First of all, we need to make sure that everyone is wearing proper footwear for exercise, and no, that does not mean flip-flops. Increasing the daily impact on your feet through walking increases stress on our bones. As we discussed in March, a stress fracture is a small crack in a bone due to overuse or repetitive strain. This can easily happen to those walking long distances in bad shoes. The time it takes to lace up a pair of tennis shoes is about 30 seconds; the time it takes to recover from a stress fracture (and lose out on all that walking and Pokémon collection in the meantime) is several weeks to months depending on the severity. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the 30 seconds to tie my shoes.

  1. Fungal Infection

For those gamers who were intuitive enough to put on athletic shoes before venturing out, you have a different set of worries than our flip-flop users. You need to worry about foot cleanliness and fungal infections. Fungus likes to grow in warm, moist, and dark places, and all three of those conditions exist inside your shoes. In order to avoid lovely conditions such as athletes foot, I would recommend avoiding excess sweating inside your shoes (using a product like Bromi-lotion may help), changing your socks immediately after they get sweaty, and airing out or even disinfecting your shoes on a regular basis. Changing a key factor of your health, such as walking additional distances every day to catch Pokémon, can greatly impact your feet and their health. Be sure to wash your feet thoroughly and maintain appropriate cleanliness for your shoes. It may save a trip to the podiatrist.

 

  1. Trips/Falls

 

Perhaps the biggest complaint so far concerning the Pokémon Go game is that it takes our eyes off of our environment and onto our phonescreen. This creates a whole new set of concerns when it comes to our feet. YouTube videos are popping up all over the place of Pokémon Go users falling down stairs and running into poles. While these can be funny to watch, those gamers may be doing serious damage to their feet. Every time our foot twists in the wrong way or our toes stub hard against something, we are risking major damage to our feet. If you are walking through the local park and only looking at your phone screen, you can easily step into a hole and twist your ankle or even break a bone. The app alerts you each time you start it up to remain aware of your surroundings, but reports have shown that gamers ignore these warnings and that is how they get into trouble with their feet.

Overall, I support the Pokémon Go app for the major shift it is causing in gaming culture, but I sure hope at least one gamer reads this article and thinks twice about their foot health before venturing out to catch their latest Pokémon. Only time will tell if gamers heed my warning.

…Could be gout.  Gout is a very painful type of arthritis that results from the build up of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is produced when our bodies break down purines (found in our body tissues and many rich foods). Normally, uric acid is filtered through our kidneys and leaves the body peacefully, but when uric acid builds up, it can attack and lead to very painful results. Three different things can occur with the buildup of uric acid: the acid can crystallize leaving deposits in the joints, deposits of uric acid can form lumps under your skin, or you may develop kidney stones. While those last two don’t sound pleasant either, it’s the first result that causes the painful condition of gout.

A sudden attack of gout has been known to wake people up from their sleep. The uric acid crystallizes and builds up between the joints of the big toe causing pain, redness, swelling, heat, and stiffness. These symptoms can also occur in the ankle, heel, or even wrists and fingers.

Gout is known as the disease of kings and for a very good reason. A person may be more likely to develop gout if they are a man, are overweight, drink too much alcohol, eat many foods rich in purines, or have family members with the disease. The most purines are found in liver, seafood, alcohol, duck, bacon, venison and other rich foods, or in other words, exactly what a king would eat. Most famously, both Henry VIII of England and Leonardo da Vinci were sufferers of gout.

It’s too bad that they couldn’t visit the FAAWC, because our podiatrists can help diagnose and treat your gout. Diagnosis is fairly straightforward and will usually involve a family history with a physical examination. Fluid may be drawn from the joint to look for crystals. Treatment involves oral medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, or medicines to lower the amount of uric acid in the blood. As long as you stick with your medication regimen and stay away from foods high in purines, you can rest easy knowing your gout is unlikely to reappear.

If you think you may be suffering from gout, call the FAAWC today to book an appointment. Relief from your pain is only a step away.