Thursday, 22 June 2017

Diabetic Foot Care: Role of a Podiatrist

Diabetes can cause several complaints and conditions like peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage that triggers pain and numbness in feet and hands), foot infection and ulcers, poor circulation (that impairs the body’s ability to heal) and stiffer joints.

In the domain of diabetes management, most patients do not consider foot care as a crucial aspect. They tend largely to leave unattended foot problems, until a serious condition develops. Having a podiatrist in the diabetes management team will help in preventing and managing related foot conditions in the following ways.

Spotting signs of danger early

Due to peripheral neuropathy, people with diabetes are slow to react to cuts, pricks, burns and bruises. They do not feel often any pain or discomfort caused by open sores or bleeding calluses and corns.

During regular scheduled check-ups, a foot doctor can observe such symptoms early and advice prompt treatment, before they worsen to a serious condition. A podiatrist can also notice red flags like skin color changes in the feet, numbness in toes or feet, pain in legs, sores that take too long to heal, swelling in the ankle or feet, ingrown/fungal toenails, dry cracks around heals etc., and prescribe a proper diabetic foot care management required.

Some diabetics may have existing medical conditions like arthritis, which can make foot conditions worse. Having a podiatrist on the diabetes management team in such cases will help address the condition more effectively, and prevent a possible toll on mobility.

Speedy healing of wounds

Injuries and wounds of diabetics often take longer to heal than those of a healthy person. In case the wound stays open, a diabetic is more prone to develop an infection than a non-diabetic is. Such untreated wounds and infections can turn into gangrene, and even infect the bones, increasing the chances of an amputation. However, with the right tips on foot care and treatment of a podiatrist, the wound/injury can heal faster.

Treatment and monitoring of ulceration to avoid amputation

Podiatric management of a diabetic ulcer starts initially with an evaluation of diabetic status and previous treatment history together with a diagnosis of the cause and the stage of the ulcer. A foot doctor examines further, if any infection is present, and the ulcer is ischemic, neuropathic, or neuroischemic.

When treating this vulnerable population, a podiatrist ensures a high level of infection control and plays a crucial role in timely treatment and monitoring of diabetic ulcers to bring down the chances of amputation.  The foot doctor chooses the most suitable cleansing solutions and dressing materials, prescribes topical ointments and uses off-loading techniques that include measures like felt padding, prescription insoles and orthotics.

A multidisciplinary approach is required to treat diabetic foot conditions. It is necessary that an experienced and reputed podiatrist works together with other healthcare professionals; helps in proper screening and assessment of the foot condition; offers timely, effective and speedy treatment; performs biomechanical and gait analysis; provides skilful clinical care; offers foot care education as well as footwear advice.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Foot Conditions of Children: 5 Things You Should Know

Due to intense physical activities, it’s common for children to suffer from ankle and foot problems. Yet, thanks to their resilience, you may often miss the signs and symptoms of such foot conditions. This makes it important to keep a close eye on your child's foot health.

Do consult with a podiatrist if you notice anything unusual such as a decrease in your child’s physical activity, limping, pain in foot, or lack of desire to play outdoors, among others. Listed below are five things you should know about foot conditions of children.

1. When are foot conditions likely to develop in children?

Foot conditions and injuries can affect children of any age any time. However, they are most likely to develop in children involved in different, intense sport activities, or those who are extremely active physically.

Children playing on club teams (that make increasing demands on them to play often, especially on hard surfaces like indoor turfs, facilities etc.) or participating in multiple sports tend to experience foot problems more often due to overuse or injury.

2. Common foot problems in children

Children can suffer often from the following foot conditions:


  • Flatfoot (where the foot lacks an arch)
  • Sever’s disease (inflammation of the growth plate of heels)
  • Clubfoot (a congenital defect that makes the foot twisted out of its normal shape or position)
  • Growth plate injuries (caused by foot or ankle sprains and breaks that damage the growth plate, deforming either the bone’s position or interfering with bone growth)  
  • Bunions (painful bumps at the base of the big toe)

3. Common treatments

Initial treatment for foot conditions, injuries and pain include rest, anti-inflammatory medications and custom-made orthotics. In case such conservative treatments do not alleviate the symptoms, the foot doctor may recommend invasive treatments like surgery, after considering the child’s age and the severity of the condition.

4. Treatment of foot problems: children v. adults

Children are often more mobile, heal faster and experience lesser pain than that adults experience. Even when the treatment involves surgery, children have a better chance of healing faster and returning to their normal level of physical activity quicker than adults do. However, the young age of children can work in their favor only when they take timely treatment without worsening the conditions due to ignorance, carelessness or needless delay.

The foot doctor has to play an important role while treating children: the affected and possibly much frightened child should feel relaxed, become convinced of the need for the treatment and understand clearly how it will help cure the pain and discomfort.  

5. Long-term effects of ignoring foot conditions of children

Some foot conditions correct themselves and demand no treatment, as the child grows: bowleg or ‘in-toeing’ is common and does not require any medical attention. Yet, it would be best if you consult with a reputed podiatrist for a correct diagnosis of the condition.

You should know if it requires careful monitoring, proper treatment or nothing. Else, an injury or foot problem might lead to muscle weakness, pain, joint arthritis, undue stress and overload on the foot/ankle, deformity, inactivity, mental frustration or other avoidable complications.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Get Your Feet Summer-Ready : 5 Sandal Wearing Tips

With spring already here and summer about to follow, perhaps you are looking forward to those leisurely strolls on the beach or lazing by the pool. We bet you either have your sandals or flip-flops handy or plan to get a new pair.

However, did you know how the wrong sandal or flip-flop could cause foot pain, blisters and even more discomfort that would require a consultation with an experienced podiatrist with considerable expertise? Here are five tips to get you moving in a sandal or flip-flop in true summery style:

1. Wear not sandals that bend in half:  Do not wear sandals that bend in half, as they cannot offer good arch support. Sandals or flip-flops that fail to give adequate arch support will cause foot fatigue, and can even trigger strain and pain in the lower back, hips and knees. Ideally, you should buy a new pair only after testing whether they fold or bend in half. Those that do are unsuitable for wearing, as they will not provide your feet with adequate support.

2. Remember to break in your sandals: Wear your new sandals for short periods to break them in. You could even put a band-aid between the first and second toes to give your toes a protective cushion. Though breaking in the sandals would be uncomfortable, you should do it to enjoy wearing them comfortably later on.

3. Wear them just for relaxation: Your sandals and flip-flops are not meant for that Disneyland trip or a visit to the mall. Do not sport them when you have to walk long stretches or for a long time; use them instead for activities of relaxation like a stroll on the beach or when lazing by the poolside. Since sandals do not offer support to keep your foot in place, spraining or twisting your ankle or tripping over are common. This makes it important to limit their use and thus avoid chances of strain, sprain and other injuries.

4. Check the sandal straps carefully: Though this may be the last thing on your mind when shopping for sandals, it would help to buy ones with wider, softer straps. You should check if the straps go over bones or have seams at spots that could cause friction blisters. If you are prone to foot pain, you should ideally go for regular sandals and not the thongs; the latter cause your ligaments and tendons a lot of extra stress, which in turn can cause stress fractures, heel pain, tendonitis and ankle problems.

5. Replace sandals with worn-out soles: Just like shoes, your flip-flops and sandals too are subject to wear and tear. Though they might have given your feet adequate support in the past, their worn out and tilted soles may now do more harm than good. This makes it important to inspect your sandals at regular intervals by placing them on a table, and taking a close look at them at eye-level. If they aren’t flat, you should know it’s time to replace them.

Since every foot is different (with respect to shape, arches etc), it is important you try the comfort quotient of new sandals by putting them on before you buy. Instead of buying them online, visit a store and buy the pair after a thorough trial. Remember the tips given above and you will have a great time sporting your flip-flops and sandals.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Going on a Hike with your Backpack : 5 Foot care Tips to remember

As you wish winter adieu and get ready to welcome spring, perhaps you are short-listing as well destinations to enjoy a hike. Amidst all the preparation for a hike, you may miss an important thing – taking care of your feet. If you are ready to set on a hiking trail with your backpack, remember these foot care tips and your feet, for sure, will be thankful to you for your considerateness!

1. Right pair of boots

Choosing boots that allow too much of space for your feet to slide either side to side or from front to back would cause blisters due to friction; too tight a pair, on the other hand, would make your toes curled up and probably smash them, especially during your hike downhill.

It is important, therefore, to select boots that give you the right fit. Remember not to wear your new boots for the hike, or you may experience foot pain and discomfort. Wear them while running errands or during your neighborhood walks to break them in before heading out on your rather strenuous hiking trip.

2. Right socks and laces

Experienced hikers advise you wearing two socks inside out, one over the other; this is to avoid the discomfort and sometimes pain caused by the rubbing of the toe stitching of the socks against your toenails.

The inner pair of sock with its tight fit helps reduce friction and wicks away moisture from your foot to the outer pair. The outer sock, apart from absorbing the moisture from the inner sock, serves as a cushion between the boot and your feet.

Ideally, you should invest in socks that have a blend of advanced synthetic fibers with new wool. It’s not enough if you choose the right socks; you should, in addition, lace your boots properly. You may go in for regular lacing, skip lacing or dual lacing to ensure that your heel is firmly placed at the rear of the boot, and you don’t cut off circulation to your in-step and toes.

3. Toenail issues

Remember to cut your toenails straight across before heading out. Though most people usually have a slightly curved cut, a straight cut is preferable for hikers; it decreases the chances of having in-grown toenails, and reduces the general friction between your skin and toenail.

If you forget to clip your nails properly or have a nail protruding outward, your shoes will pressurize your nails; in turn, it would press into your toes that may cause the nail discomfort or even bleeding, chipping or falling off.

4. General care

If your feet sweat heavily, make sure you pack an antiperspirant spray that would prevent sweating, thus reducing moisture. Blisters would appear if this preventive measure were not taken. Sprinkling some foot powder into your socks to keep your feet friction-free, moisturizing your feet (if you prefer it) with moisturizing balms, creams and lubricants are a few other ways to get your feet hike-ready.

5. Mid-hike triage

Despite all precautions and foot-care measures taken, you will inevitably feel some discomfort after miles of hiking and would need some mid-hike triage. Since hot spots suggest an upcoming blister, change your socks; dry your feet if you experience a burning sensation on your feet.

In case small, unbroken and not-very-painful blisters appear on your feet, simply apply on them a lubricant or cream before taping your feet. If they were big and already broken, you would need to clean them first, cover them with gauze or a piece of fabric before taping.

During a hike, your feet will do a lot of hard work, carrying around the load of a backpack, as well as your own body weight. It pays to ensure they are comfortable and taken care of when you go on a hike to enjoy your favorite haunts.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Foot Care and Your Beauty Salon : 4 Telltale Signs to Beware!

If you thought that just injuries and diseases lead to foot problems, think it over again. You may be surprised that something as simple as your beauty salon can cause foot problems and ailments, if it isn’t clean or it uses equipments that aren’t sterilized. Wondering how to check if your beauty salon is safe for your feet? Here are four obvious telltale signs:

1. Unclean salon

If you find in your salon dirty countertops and streaky mirrors and nail clippings strewn all over, it indicates that good hygiene practices aren’t worth a dime there. You can even take a quick look at the ladies’ room to check how clean it is before deciding to go for a foot care session there.

How promptly the salon replaces reading materials for customers is another indication of its commitment to health and hygiene; terribly soiled and dog-eared magazines and other materials are most likely to harbor a lot of germs. All these factors are a matter of concern with regard to your foot care.

2. Shabby salon technicians

Slovenly appearance, disheveled clothes and lax attitude of the salon technicians would be another indicator of the state of affairs. The foot care tools and equipments used by them would be no better in matters of safety and hygiene. You should not warrant foot problems by spending a foot care session in such a salon.

3. Unhygienic footbaths

Footbaths with jets, pipes or liners can often be safe haven for numerous harmful microorganisms, which increase the chances of foot infection. Therefore, it’s better to go for footbaths that have jet/pipe-free whirlpools.

If the facility is not available, ask the salon technician whether they clean the jets and pipes properly and regularly, and they change footbath liners between clients. You would be risking your foot health if you do not ascertain from the salon these basic hygiene steps.

4. Disregard for disposable tools

Some beauty salons may disregard the use of disposable tools as they practice the recycling of things like metal buffers and files. Ideally speaking, you should ask for single-use tools and make the technician open a new package of the relevant tools in your presence. You should go one step further to ensure that those tools are disposed of immediately after use.

If you can’t get disposable tools from the salon for use, you should certainly ask for properly disinfected tools in any case. You may even ask if the salon has an autoclave sterilization device; it’s much more effective as compared to the commonly used disinfectant solutions.

Some people do bring their own instruments to salons to avoid risks of infection due to germs. Even for them it may not be possible always. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to care for your foot health. Do not fail to check the telltale signs as described above; choose your beauty salon where your feet will be given the care they deserve in a safe and healthy environment.

In spite of all the precautions, if you happen to contract any foot infection leading to a worrisome condition, consult a reputed podiatrist promptly for appropriate treatment.

Monday, 23 January 2017

5 Tips for Healthy Feet in Winter

Many of us take care of our feet in summer; the sandals and flip-flops we wear do not hide telltale signs of any foot ailment. However, when winter comes, your feet stay hidden under socks and boots. The cold, snow and ice of the season may trigger several foot problems, and you may not even notice them. You just cannot ignore proper foot care during winter. Given below for your benefit are 5 tips for sound foot health during this season.

Select the right shoes and socks for winter

If you plan to stay outdoors for long, invest in waterproof shoes. The shoes you choose should have adequate grip to prevent slips and falls on snow-covered slippery surfaces. Since wearing woolen or thermal socks will help keep your feet warm, make sure your winter shoes have some extra room to accommodate thicker socks.

Keep your feet moisturized and clean

Keeping your feet clean is as essential in winter as it’s in summer. You may either use a little soap and water to wash your feet or soak them in a tub of lukewarm water; add a little baking soda to the tub of water to make your feet feel refreshed. Make sure to apply some moisturizer on your clean feet as winter makes the skin dry and flaky.

Walk carefully

Don’t run or make any sudden movements on pavements and roads covered with snow, or you may end up hurting yourself. Even when you wear shoes with a good grip, it pays to walk carefully. Ligament tears and ankle sprains are very common in winter and it would be good to be a little careful rather than feel bad later.

Combat foot odor

You feet can’t breathe in winter when they are covered in woolen or thermal socks all day long and kept confined in boots or covered shoes made of rubber, vinyl and other synthetic materials. No wonder you have to battle unpleasant foot odor.

You should wash your feet with an antiseptic soap every time you return from outdoor work; it is the simplest way to get rid of this problem. In case you are on travel, check for some vodka in the hotel room mini-bar; you can dab a little on your feet and the alcohol will kill the odor-causing bacteria.

Stay protected against chilblains

Chilblains occur due to abnormal response to cold. These tiny, itchy lumps on the skin can be very painful, although they usually go away in one or two weeks. In case you tend to develop chilblains, you should avoid excessive exposure to the cold and try to stay warm. If you have already developed chilblains, you need to consult your podiatrist for medications to get speedy relief.

Dry and itchy skin as well as cracked heels are other winter problems. Apart from keeping your feet clean, dabbing some foot cream lotions or applying honey can help combat cracked heels. Those using the gym may tend to develop foot fungus in winter. Wearing shower shoes in the locker room and keeping your feet dry can help you stay away from it.

Although winter brings its fair share of foot problems, you can keep your feet healthy with these simple tips. In case of complications causing concern, you would do well to consult a reputed podiatrist with experience and expertise. So, put your best foot forward this winter.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Standing on the Job: Foot Care Tips for Women

Standing long hours on the job is an integral part of the life of many women. From nurses and bank tellers to retail salespersons, restaurant servers and mail sorters, standing for long hours every day takes a heavy toll on the health of women.

These women suffer from a variety of foot ailments – from bunions, calluses, corns, varicose veins and painful/swollen legs and feet to low back pain, shoulder/neck stiffness, muscle fatigue and soreness. Their ability to perform well on the job takes a beating and even wrecks the quality of their life.

Tips to prevent foot ailments
 

Quitting jobs isn’t a feasible or desirable option for women: the next best thing they can do is to take the following preventive foot care measures, to avoid health issues due to standing on job for prolonged hours. These steps are simple to follow and they do not interfere with their jobs.

Choosing right shoes

Do not choose fashionable high heels or pointy shoes with minimal or poor support for your feet and toes; choose instead proper shoes that match your foot size and offer adequate space and support to your toes and feet. If you are already suffering from foot pain or other foot ailments, you should consult your foot doctor to check whether you need orthotics or supportive insoles to wear with your shoes.

Wearing socks and compression stockings

If you suffer from heal pain, wear padded socks. You may also wear compression stockings that offer support to the blood vessels and muscles of the lower leg, thus promoting better circulation. This in turn would help reduce swelling/edema.

Reducing weight

Your feet have to bear and carry around your entire body weight all day long. Just imagine the kind of pressure they would suffer if you were overweight. Therefore, it would help to spare your feet the trouble of excessive pressure, if you shed a few kilos and maintain a healthy weight.

Doing foot exercises

Do some simple stretches and walk around a little from time to time to avoid standing in the same position for long hours. If you have a gym or an empty room in the office, you may even do spot jogging or a few bends and stretches on the floor. This will improve your blood circulation and ward off muscle fatigue.

Pampering your feet at home

At home, you can soak your tired feet in footbath, or give them a foot massage/pedicure, as it will decrease the pain in your overworked joints and muscles.

Following some other steps

Stand on anti-fatigue mats with a cushioned surface that reduce the stress on your feet and legs. When standing for long hours, shift your wait periodically from one foot to another. At lunch breaks or other time offs, try to sit down and rest your legs. If possible, use sit-stand stools to give your feet and legs some respite during work.

Employers must provide a healthy and comfortable workplace for everyone. Unfortunately, women’s health is ignored in general, especially where they are at a high risk of developing several foot ailments due to long hours of standing.

If you belong to such an unfortunate workforce, make use of the simple tips given above to avoid work-related foot health problems. Should you develop any, seek prompt medical advice from a reputed foot doctor with considerable expertise and experience. Make your job painless and stress-free!