Posts for category: Foot Health
While you might not think about it, your feet certainly do a lot for you day in and day out: They help lug your tired body up those flights of stairs to get to your apartment after a long day of work. They pound the pavement (or the treadmill) for those regular stress-relieving sweat sessions. They suffer through endless hours of dancing in high heels for a night on the town with your friends. When you think about your feet in this light, they are pretty amazing.
However, just like everything else, our feet also change over time. What your feet needed when you were an athletic teenager will be different than the thirty-something professional wearing dress shoes or an older adult who is enjoying some post-retirement travel. It’s important that our feet get the unique care they need as you get older. After all, you may be at an increased risk for developing these common foot problems:
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Fungal infections
- Plantar fasciitis (one of the most common causes of heel pain)
Your feet will change as you get older. They may get larger and even require a completely different shoe size. You’ll lose density in the fatty pads of the feet. Skin also loses its elasticity and becomes thinner, so it may be more prone to infection or injuries.
Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, arthritis, nerve damage or obesity, these chronic health problems can also increase your chances of developing foot-related complications. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these health problems it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can turn to at the first sign of an issue. It’s important that you inspect your feet every day to look for any changes or symptoms such as redness, swelling, cuts or open wounds that may require immediate care.
You’ll also want to take into account the importance of wearing the right footwear. While this is something everyone should do, as you get older your feet lose a lot of their natural cushioning and, as a result, require additional support from their shoes. It’s important that the shoes you wear provide you with the ample support and cushioning you need.
Toenail fungal infections are also more common as you get older. While this infection may not seem like a big deal, leaving this infection untreated could cause it to spread to other areas of the foot. Plus, it leaves toenails brittle, yellow and unsightly. If you are having trouble treating a toenail fungus on your own, or if you deal with persistent fungal infections, this is also a time to turn to a foot doctor for care.
You are ready to get into bed and fall fast asleep; however, your legs have other plans. Perhaps you feel as if your legs have a mind of their own and feel the urge to just keep moving. Whether you’ve experienced this feeling while lying in bed or relaxing on the couch after a long day at work, you may be dealing with restless leg syndrome (RLS).
Restless leg syndrome is a nervous system disorder in which people feel this need to move their legs. This condition may also be classified as a sleep disorder if you are someone who experiences this throughout the night and, as a result, has trouble sleeping.
Besides feeling the urge to keep your legs moving, those with RLS may also feel a “pins and needles” sensation in the legs. You will notice these symptoms most often while sitting or lying down. While people may have symptoms of RLS that are milder, those with severe leg discomfort may find it near impossible to sleep at night.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to pinpoint the root cause of someone’s RLS; however, one factor that most people with RLS have is that family members have also dealt with RLS during their lifetime. Of course, there are certain factors that can trigger RLS episodes such as:
- Chronic illnesses (e.g. peripheral neuropathy; diabetes)
- Medication (e.g. antihistamines; antidepressants)
- Lack of sleep
While there is no diagnostic test out there that will definitively prove whether someone has RLS, you should visit your podiatrist for an evaluation. While a blood test may be performed in order to determine whether a certain medical disorder could be the cause, most of the time just discussing your symptoms, as well as your personal and family medical history is all that’s needed for your foot doctor to determine whether you have RLS.
Since there is no cure for RLS, the most important thing your podiatrist can do is help you manage your symptoms and to improve your sleep. In people with mild-to-moderate RLS, most of the time certain lifestyle modifications is all that’s needed. Certain lifestyle changes include:
- Regular exercise
- Adopting better sleep habits
- Reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products
Sometimes medications are also prescribed to help treat symptoms of RLS. Common medications include benzodiazepines (sedative), narcotics, anticonvulsants and dopaminergic drugs.
If you believe RLS is affecting your quality of sleep then it’s time you turned to a foot specialist who can get to the bottom of your symptoms and help you manage your condition more effectively.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, find out why your foot health is something you shouldn’t mess with.
When you find out you have diabetes it might feel like everything has suddenly changed. Now there is so much more to think about when it comes to your health. You’ll be given lifestyle changes to adhere to. You may need to exercise more. You may need to change your diet; lose weight. Of course, it’s also important that you consider your foot health in all of this.
“Why?” you may ask. Well, seemingly innocuous foot problems for healthy individuals may not cause issues but it actually could cause serious complications for those with diabetes. Those with diabetes are prone to nerve damage, neuropathy and circulation problems, which can cause a loss of feeling in the feet. Plus, even the smallest of injuries can turn into something more serious if left untreated.
So, what should you do to keep your diabetic feet healthy? Fortunately, there is a simple list of things that you can do every day to ensure that your feet don’t experience problems:
- Examine your feet thoroughly everyday. This not only means the tops and sides but also the soles and in between your toes. If you are unable to do this yourself, turn to a friend or family member who can do it for you. Inspecting your feet daily will ensure that you catch a problem as quickly as possible.
- Call a podiatrist if you notice any cuts, wounds, sores, redness, ingrown toenails or other problems. It may seem a bit odd to call your foot doctor about such seemingly insignificant foot problems but it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry. They can tell you whether it warrants a trip to the office.
- Make sure to wash your feet everyday. Seems like a simple enough task, right? Just make sure you are actually spending time washing every area of your feet with soap and warm water. Dry your feet off completely once you get out of the shower.
- It’s important to keep feet from drying out and you can easily help keep feet feeling smooth by applying a moisturizer every day. You should do this once you get out of the shower and dry off your feet to help lock in the moisture.
- Wear socks and shoes everywhere, even if it’s indoors. Going barefoot could leave you prone to potential injury. This is particularly important if you have nerve damage or have lost sensation in your feet, as you may not know that you’ve stepped on something.
If you have diabetes it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can always turn to for the care you need whenever you need it most. Problems can arise suddenly and it’s important that you have a foot specialist you can trust in.
Did you know that what you consume could actually be affecting your foot health?
When we sit down to enjoy a meal we sometimes think about how what we eat affects our overall health. While we consider the heart benefits, we might not realize that the food we are about to enjoy can also affect the health of our feet as well. It might sound rather strange to consider, but what we eat affects all parts of the body, feet included. If you want to maintain both good overall health and good foot health, then it’s time to find out just how diet can affect your feet.
The American Diet
While we don’t like to admit it, the American diet is detrimental to foot health, as it often causes an inflammatory response. With all the saturated fats, refined grains, trans fats and added sugar, it’s no wonder that a lot of us deal with inflamed and uncomfortable feet. While some people may have a food sensitivity that causes foot inflammation, for most of us it’s our heavy intake of foods loaded with these bad elements that lead to our foot problems.
The Healthy-Foot Diet
What can you do to promote better foot health? Follow these diet recommendations to reduce inflammation and prevent conditions such as plantar fasciitis from affecting your life:
- Incorporate more omega-3 fats: Next time you go to the grocery store, head to the seafood counter and snag some delicious salmon. Fatty fish like salmon are packed full of omega3s, which stave off inflammation. If you aren’t a seafood lover, then consider taking fish oil supplements to reap the omega3 benefits instead.
- Avoid refined foods: No matter how tempting it might be, sugary snacks and white, processed grains like bread and pasta can wreak havoc on your body’s inflammatory response. However, you don’t have to say goodbye to that weekly bowl of past. Instead, swap it for whole grains and dark, leafy vegetables and stay away from processed, packaged and refined foods. This is particularly important for those with diabetes.
- Say yes for lean meats: While a juicy steak might sound delicious, the saturated fats are anything but healthy for your feet. Instead, you should replace red meats with leaner meats like fish or chicken.
If you notice any foot symptoms that cause you concern, then you should talk to your podiatrist as soon as possible. If you are worried about how your diet is affecting your health then talk to us about foods to decrease inflammation and promote healthier feet. After all, our feet do a lot for us, so isn’t it time you did something for them?