Posts for tag: sweaty feet
Labor day is just around the corner (September 4th – in case you didn’t know) and it’s a day that celebrates the contributions common working folk have made to the social and economic growth of America. In a strangely ironic way, Americans celebrate this holiday shopping and enjoying time outdoors while the common working folk continue to labor, mostly in the retail and food service industries. People who work on their feet all day have an increased chance of major foot and leg problems. Just a short list of possible conditions include varicose veins, heel pain, leg or ankle swelling, bunions, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, joint damage, fallen arches, poor circulation…should I go on?! Since that’s a bit too many to go through one-by-one, let’s look at how best we can avoid any or all of these from occurring in the first place.
The Right Shoes
There is nothing so valuable to your foot health as wearing the right shoes. For active jobs you need proper footwear that has the right features for your profession. When you shop for shoes, do so at the end of the day and make sure to try on both shoes to check for foot size differentiation. Stilettos are not good for daily wear. Save them for the extra special occasions and choose a stylish low heel (1-2 inches) instead for those long days in the office. If you’re in the food service industry, be sure to find shoes with enough tread to give you stability on wet floors. Making good decisions from the start can help avoid injury in the first place
…And Other Important Accessories
Let’s say you work outside and need heavy work boots in hot weather; your feet probably sweat. To avoid problems with fungal infections like athlete’s foot, keep your feet cool and dry with sweat-wicking socks and foot deodorizing powders. If you have existing foot problems like flat feet, you need to have special orthotics to give additional support. Proper shoe inserts align the body and alleviate more than just foot pain. They can straighten the spine, alleviate pain from your toes to your shoulders, and increase your circulation. If you struggle with leg swelling, you may need to consider wearing compression hose
You may think it sounds mad to say that those who work on their feet all day need to do extra foot exercises, but in fact, stretching overused muscles can help prevent chronic injury for those who rely on their feet for their work. When your muscles stay in the same position for extended periods of time, like those who stand for most of the day, they can literally ‘freeze’ in place. For those with active jobs, who repeat the same motions over and over again, overuse leading to redness, tenderness, and strain is common. Try basic stretches like toe raises to work your calves or try removing your shoes to roll a tennis ball under your arches for a few minutes every few hours. Stretching now can lead to fewer problems later and it doesn’t have to take very long. In addition to stretching, try raising your feet during lunch breaks.
I’ve had days where it was hard to take a bathroom break, much less time to stretch or put my feet up. In that case, I need to pamper my tired dogs when I finally get home. One of the best things you can do for your feet is sitting down, alleviating pressure on the feet and knees. If your ankles show signs of swelling, raise them and pack on the ice to reduce inflammation. Don’t forget to pamper yourself every once in awhile too. Regular pedicures can help reduce buildup of dead skin and keep nails healthy and free from infection and ingrown toenails.
Seeing Your Podiatrist
When in doubt, see your podiatrist. A quick trip to the doctor when you first experience symptoms can do a lot to keep healing time to a minimum and your work efficiency to a maximum. Don’t wait until you have to miss work due to your foot problems, make your appointment today.
I hope that everyone has a great Labor Day full of safe fun and proper footwear, and for those who have to work and be on their feet all day, make sure to follow our instructions to avoid a painful ending. Happy Labor Day all!
One of the best parts of freedom is the fact that we have the right to make our own choices and you need to be making the right choices to keep your feet healthy. Summer is a great season for runners, but if you want to keep your feet at their fastest you need to take care of yourself. Here are some quick tips for running in the summer months:
- Drink water! Lots of it!
Dehydration is a huge problem when it comes to your feet. There are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet and if you’re running outside in hot weather, you better believe that your feet are going to be pouring buckets into your shoes. Make sure you hydrate before, during, and after a run, even if you aren’t thirsty. Also, make sure you rinse and dry your feet to avoid problems associated with extra sweatiness (like athletes foot).
- Breathable shoes and socks
Remember those sweat glands we just talked about? Well one way to keep your feet cool and dry is to wear the proper socks and shoes. Sweat wicking socks made of nylon, polyester, and wool will pull moisture away from the skin. 100% cotton socks only absorb the moisture, but trap it against your skin, leaving your feet open to odor, bacteria, or infection. Get the right socks and your feet will thank you.
While you don’t have to worry about your feet getting sun burned inside your shoes, the rest of your body is subject to burn. Not only does sunscreen protect you from harmful UV rays, but it can also help prevent runners’ tan (that thing where your feet are white below your sock line). Don’t forget to lather it on even for that early morning or late evening run. Unless the sun is below the horizon, you’re absorbing those rays and you need to protect yourself.
Running on varied surfaces can help protect your feet. Concrete and asphalt are very tough and put enormous amounts of pressure on your joints and bones. Running on dirt or grass is softer and thus gives you a more complete workout, but it takes a lot of concentration when you run on these surfaces to avoid trips, twists, and other ankle injuries. Overall, it’s best to work on a mixture of these surfaces. If you prefer road running, change one run a week to a trail instead. Soft surfaces absorb the shock of our bodyweight and stop it from being transferred up your feet and legs.
Why anyone would want to go running in the heat is beyond my reckoning, but if you just have to get out for your morning jog, make sure you follow through on thinking about your feet first.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
A while back we talked about fungus and the lovely things it can do to your toenails. However, we didn’t talk about what happens when fungus infects our skin. The most common fungal infection of the foot is athlete’s foot or tinea pedis, if you want to sound really smart. Athlete’s foot was first described in a medical text dated 1888, but had probably been around for centuries. The first reported case in the United States was traced back to 1920 and may have been introduced to the US by soldiers returning from WWI.
The tinea fungus is responsible for the condition we know as athlete’s foot and there are a few important things you should know First of all, athlete’s foot is really only skin deep and therefore not generally dangerous (just uncomfortable and unsightly). The fungus enters the keratin, or first layer of skin, usually on the bottom of the foot or between the toes and starts to grow there. Usually, the keratin layer of our skin is being flaked off and replaced by the skin underneath, but the fungi responsible for athlete’s foot slow down this process and so the skin remains in a constant state of infection.
This type of fungal infection is contracted through either direct contact with an infected person or contact with a surface on which the tinea fungus is present. Behaviors that put you at risk for athlete’s foot include walking barefoot in public showers, locker rooms, or swimming pools, sharing socks or shoes with infected people, wearing tight and enclosed shoes, and keeping your feet wet for long periods of time. The easiest way to avoid issues with athlete’s foot is to avoid the above behaviors! Always wear shoes in public showers and around pools (or any wet or moist place where fungus might like to grow) and keep your feet dry and air them out every once in a while if you wear enclosed shoes for long periods of time (like athletes do).
Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a painful, itchy, burning, stinging feeling between the toes or on the sole of your foot, blisters that itch, cracking and peeling skin between the toes, and discolored or thick nails that pull away from the nail bed. You may experience just one of these symptoms or all of them. Cases can range in severity, but are generally easily treatable with over the counter creams and medications. If your athlete’s foot persists or seems healed and then returns, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral prescription anti-fungal.
Severe cases of athlete’s foot can present with other symptoms. Allergic reactions to the fungus, secondary infections, and infection spreading to the lymph system can occur and require more serious treatment. Diabetics or those with decreased sensitivity need to monitor their feet closely to check for signs of complications and should see their podiatrist immediately for a treatment plan.
Whether mild or severe, no one likes athlete’s foot. If you think you may have athlete’s foot, please contact your doctor to be sure you are not experiencing symptoms of a more serious problem. Keep your feet dry and wear your shoes to the pool. It’s that simple to avoid the itchy, burning, unsightly problem of athlete’s foot.
January is, on average, the coldest month in the United States, and cold temperatures can mean bad things for your feet. Let’s be honest: We probably think about our feet the least of all our body parts, but in the winter they become the forefront of our concerns when we step outside. Let’s look at a few ways to keep our tootsies toasty warm when the temperatures drop outside.
Socks are an important part of our foot health. Choosing the right sock for the right activity is equally important.
No matter what you are doing, keep your feet dry. Sweat-wicking socks pull moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and warm. If your feet have been sweating or your socks are wet, make sure you change them as soon as possible. Merino wool is one of the best materials for winter socks because the fibers are thermostatic (temperature regulating) and can hold up to 30% of their weight in water.
Synthetic fibers are also a good option. In some ways, synthetic materials are superior to wool since they can be carefully crafted to meet specific needs with fibers such as Coolmax, Wickspun and Isolfil.
Make sure you always try on your socks with the shoes you intend to wear to ensure comfort.
Although most people living in Ohio have the proper clothing for warm weather, sometimes we find ourselves lacking when we are most in need. Believe it or not, paper is a wonderful insulator in a pinch. Tour de France athletes will grab newspapers from fans and tuck them down their shirts as they reach the summit of the alps to help protect them on the windy descent down the other side. You can do the same by grabbing a smooth piece of newspaper, a couple of napkins, or a paper towel and folding them over and under your toes and sliding your feet into your shoes. (Make sure that whatever you add doesn’t cause more discomfort.) This trick works wonderfully on those dry, cold days, but be careful if it’s wet outside. Water seeping into your shoes can make the paper wet and a wet piece of paper around your toes will make you colder and put your feet at risk for other ailments (such as frostbite!).
Another popular insulator are chemical foot warmers. These are individual, thin warmers that provide up to six hours of heat. Placed above or below your toes, they can add a great amount of heat and protection to cold feet. Just make sure that you don’t place the warmers against bare skin. This is particularly important for children, the elderly and diabetics who may have decreased sensitivity in their feet.
WARMING BACK UP
No matter how hard we try to keep our feet warm, inevitably they will get cold at one point or another in our lives. Make sure you re-warm your feet properly. Gradual heating is the key. Don’t immediately run to put your cold feet on the nearest radiator or close to the fire. Our extremities get cold because the capillaries close to the surface of the skin constrict and divert blood flow to the important organs in our core. This means decreased sensitivity.
Start with some movement. Swing your legs back and forth and wiggle your toes to get the blood flowing. If your feet have gone numb, you may experience some pain or discomfort as they return to normal temperature. Get somewhere warm and check your toes. Try rubbing them between your hands. If some feeling doesn’t return after this, it could be indicative of a more serious problem.
Frostbite is a serious issue and can result in permanent damage if not treated quickly and properly. There are two types of frostbite: superficial and deep. Superficial frostbite occurs when the outer skin is frozen (not just cold, but actually frozen). Deep frostbite reaches all of the way down to the underlying tissue. Both can result in permanent nerve damage or worse.
If you suspect that you may have frostbite, seek immediate medical treatment. Do not try to thaw the affected area if there is any chance that it may refreeze. If you can, avoid walking on frostbitten feet or toes. Again, gradual is the key. Don’t stick your feet in a pot of boiling water. Start with warm water and soak the area until skin appears red and warm. Never use dry heat (fire, radiator, heating pads, etc.). Slow and steady heating ensures even thawing.
You may take pain medication if you need it, as the re-warming process is often painful. Once you have thawed the area, wrap it lightly in clean bandages. Separate toes with cotton balls or other soft spacers and wrap each one individually. Don’t forget that frostbite in any form can be very serious and you should have the area checked by a doctor as soon as possible.
Winter is cold, which means we need to look out for our foot health even more than usual. Protect your feet properly with insulating socks, toe warmers, and proper footwear. Learn to recognize when your feet feel cold and how serious it is. When in doubt, maybe just stay inside by the fire and curl up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. Besides, the best way to keep your feet warm is to avoid the cold altogether.