Friday, 23 November 2018

5 Important Things To Know About Toe Jam

Many of us are often ignorant about cleaning our feet thoroughly, and think that just having water flow over the feet is enough to ensure good feet hygiene. If you too belong to this league, it is time to give it a serious second thought. Improper cleaning of feet together with some common and yet improper activities could often trigger a condition like “toe jam.” Here are five important things you need to know about the condition.

Image Courtesy : Pexels
What is it?

Put simply, toe jam refers to the development of residue and debris between the toes. When left improperly cleaned, areas between the toes can become a breeding ground for debris, which in turn leads to the onset of fungal infections.

Common causes

Some of the common factors that can contribute to toe jam include:

· Dry skin: Conditions like psoriasis, eczema etc can trigger dry skin flakes that can merge with sweat, thus creating gunk between the toes.

· Sock lint: Seemingly harmless sock lint, which refers to the fuzzy bits of particles that rub off between the toes, can lead to toe jam.

·  Foot problems: Corns, which are thickened layers of the skin, can develop between the toes. Often sweat or other sources of moisture come into contact with the corns to make them softened, which can lead to toe jam.

·  Athlete’s foot: Fungal infections like athlete’s foot develop in moist, warm environments like shoes, and can become a source of toe jam.

Factors that could make you more prone to toe jam than others
  
Although causes of toe jam are almost unavoidable, certain factors like footwear choice, medical conditions, and certain lifestyle factors can make you more vulnerable to developing gunk between your toes. For instance, people who usually sweat excessively, individuals who keep standing for a prolonged time, people who wear shoes with poor ventilation, and those who are overweight, tend to be more vulnerable to developing a toe jam.

Could toe jam lead to or indicate more serious health conditions?

Just as people having psoriasis or eczema are more prone to suffer from toe jam,  it can also be an indicator that you may be suffering from one of these conditions, though you may not yet have been diagnosed with these ailments. Apart from psoriasis and eczema, toe jam may even indicate bacterial infection.

In cases where an infection triggers toe jam, it may quickly lead to a serious medical condition like cellulitis, where the bacterial infection spreads up the leg and could even require the patient to be hospitalized. Usually, people with pre-existing diseases like diabetes, or those with reduced immunity (such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy) are found to be more prone to toe jam that quickly turns serious.

Steps to prevent toe jam

You can reduce the risk of developing toe jam by addressing the triggering factors. Additionally, you need to maintain good foot hygiene to prevent the condition, which includes:

·    Using a pumice stone to smoothen calluses and corns.

       ·    Thoroughly washing your feet including the areas between the toes, usually with soap and water, and drying them properly.

       ·    Preventing infection and keeping the areas between the toes dry by sprinkling cornstarch or talcum powder.

       ·    Washing new socks before wearing them to lower the amount of lint coming off them.

While it may not be possible to control the medical conditions or circumstances that enhance the likelihood of developing toe jam, it is always easy to follow the above steps to prevent it. However, if you still suspect that you may be having a fungal infection or toe jam, it is strongly advisable to reach out to a podiatrist to get treated right away.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

5 Ways Your Pedicure Could Be Hurting Your Feet

Whether you have to stand for long hours on the job, or run around for most part of the day, your feet are the ones to take a bad beating every day. Perhaps that is why a pedicure seems like a heavenly gift, where you soak your feet in warm water and the beautician massages and cleans them while doing her magic. You may think pedicure as the ideal solution for keeping your feet clean and healthy but sadly it is not so always. If you ignore to notice the tell-tale signs associated with a pedicure at your chosen salon, your feet may end up being harmed in the long run. If you still do not believe that a pedicure can hurt your feet, here are five ways in which they really do: 

Image Courtesy : Pixabay

      1. Dirty tubs and foot baths triggering infections: If the tubs used for giving you a footbath are not cleaned and disinfected properly, they may contain the remnants of the preceding customer. Dipping your feet in them would trigger fungal and bacterial infections. Ideally, between each customer, your salon should use an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant, which usually calls for a 10-minute session of disinfection. However, many do not do it and even those who do, may compromise with the steps of disinfecting the tubs and tools properly when they have back-to-back customers.  

      2. Use of unclean or wrong tools: Unclean tools that are not diligently scrubbed and sterilized increase the risk of fungal and bacterial infection. Even using the wrong tools or being too aggressive with them (say, with the exfoliating tools) may cause skin trauma. For example, if the exfoliating tools are used very vigorously on your feet, it could make your skin on that area to grow back harder and thicker. 

      3. Cuts and bruises caused by razors: The use of a razor by your beautician can cause permanent damage to your skin along with increasing the risk of infection through bruises and cuts, and even the possible transfer of blood between customers. Some salons, while trying to remove callouses, may even end up removing too much of the toughened skin, which in turn can make even walking, a hurtful task.

      4. Busy professionals of reputed salons may hurt your feet in a hurry: While attending to consecutive customers, your beautician may not clean the tubs or tools properly, which would make your feet prone to infections. Apart from your personal hygiene, even salon hygiene may be compromised when the salon staff neglect any or all the steps to clean or decontaminate things (which includes sanitizing, disinfecting, and sterilizing). Nicks, cuts and bruises too may happen when the beauticians are in a hurry and just want to get over with the task so that they can call in the next client.

      5. You are overdoing your pedicures: If you are going for pedicures every two weeks, you may be overdoing it. This way, you would be doing your feet more harm than good as they are being over-exfoliated. Ideally, you should go for a pedicure once every 4 to 6 weeks.

      A pedicure needs to be a relaxing experience where your feet and legs are taken care of by experts in the right way. So, choose a reliable salon know for its high standards of cleanliness, and that which has experienced beauticians to do your feet (and even your money) justice. 

Monday, 24 September 2018

5 Indications That Your Feet Need A Podiatrist Right Away

Your feet are probably one of the most overworked yet under appreciated parts of the body. You may not realize how important they are until they suffer from dysfunction, discomfort or pain. Suddenly, even walking may seem like an uphill task. Most people do not see a podiatrist until the problem becomes unbearable. But this delay can spell trouble for your feet, and at times, even to your overall health. Here are five indications that need the immediate attention of a podiatrist:

Image Courtesy : Pexels.com

      1. Conditions affecting your normal activity:

If you experience pain in your feet every time you move around to perform normal activities, you may have a foot injury that has not healed properly. Without prompt and proper treatment, this injury can get worse over time and may make it increasingly difficult to live your normal, active life.

      2. Structural problems with bones, muscles and more:

Structural problems with bones, muscles and different connective tissues do not heal themselves. Instead, they only get worse if left untreated. These problems often happen due to mechanical dysfunctions that can lead to protruding bony prominence and gradual shift in the bone alignment. Once these things happen in one part of your body, they can impact other areas significantly, especially when they are connected just like how your feet, knees, ankles, and hips are. These appendages can trigger crucial discomfort in your overall health, since you walk upright on the feet.

      3. Numbness, tingling or burning sensations:

These things can be symptoms of neuropathy that can trigger decreased sensation in the feet. If your feet feel numb rarely, it should not be a big cause for concern. But if they are happening quite regularly, you should head straight to a podiatrist. If the numbness is accompanied by burning or tingling sensation, it can be a sign of nerve damage – a condition that diabetics are particularly susceptible to. Diabetic neuropathy is something that needs immediate attention of a podiatrist. Or else, it can put you at a higher risk of developing foot ulcers.

      4. Sore or wounds that refuse to heal

If you have a wound or an open sore on the ankle or foot, you should see your podiatrist. This is  particularly important if you have diabetes because such conditions would then take longer to heal. You will have a better chance of timely healing if you consult a podiatrist immediately and get the recommended treatment started. If you have an open sore for a prolonged time, your risk of getting a bone or skin infection increases.

      5. A lump/bump/mole that grows or hurts

A mole that bleeds, gets bigger, or changes color needs to be examined by a podiatrist closely to identify the key reason. A bump or lump that hurts and grows should also be looked at by a podiatrist. It may turn out to be a sort of cyst, but there is also a probability of it being something more hazardous like a tumor. Though tumors in the feet are rare, they do occur sometimes.

The health of the feet is crucial to your overall wellbeing. Podiatrists have years of professional training under their belts, making them highly qualified to care for your feet. No matter how small your ankle or foot condition is, if you observe any of these conditions, it is important to have your podiatrist diagnose the problem right away so as  to that ensure your quality of life doesn’t get comprised.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

5 Foot Care Tips for Diabetics

For diabetics, the foot often becomes one of the most problematic areas of their body. The extremities can get deprived of adequate blood flow because of diabetes, leading to deprivation of oxygen and nutrients. Apart from problems like blisters taking more time to heal, and numbness in the feet, the area may also become more prone to infections. All these make it more important for diabetics to take good care of their feet to avoid serious complications. Here are some essential diabetes foot care tips to keep your feet healthy.

Image Courtesy:https://pixabay.com/

      1.       Manage your diabetes well

      There is a direct relationship between diabetes and damage to your nerve cells. The better you manage your diabetes, the healthier your feet will be for a prolonged time. If you have a foot infection, uncontrolled diabetes can make it difficult for the body to fight it. So, it is important that you work with your doctor to manage diabetes and keep your blood sugar level within range.

      2.       Stay active

      Staying active can help your feet to function properly and feel stretched. While exercise for diabetics certainly isn’t one-size-fits-all, low impact fitness programs that include walking, swimming, yoga etc can prove to be helpful as they don’t put excessive pressure on the feet. However, it’s crucial to ensure you have proper footwear for whatever activity you prefer to get started with. If you choose the wrong footwear that offer inadequate support to your feet, you may end up hurting your feet, which could create complications due to your pre-existing diabetes.

      3.       Check your feet daily and keep them clean

      Carefully observe your feet everyday to identify blisters, cuts, swelling, soreness and red spots. It’s good to have a mirror to thoroughly check the bottom of your feet. If you have difficulty seeing, ask a family member to do it.It’s also important to wash your feet everyday properly. Remember to use lukewarm water instead of hot water. Drying your feet after washing should be done the right way since the space between your toes is heavily airtight, and leaving the region moist may lead to infections. Towel off thoroughly to prevent this from happening.

     4.       Trim toenails carefully

      Trim your toenails every week or as and when needed. Trim them straight across without cutting too short. File the edges with a nail file or an emery board. Remember to avoid knife or conventional scissors, and don’t bite, pull or tear the toenails. Have them trimmed by a professional if you find it difficult to see or reach them.

    5.       Protect your toes from cold/hot temperature 

      Always wear shoes when walking on a hot pavement or at the beach. Avoid putting your feet into hot water. People with diabetes often develop neuropathy, which makes it difficult to feel the right temperature of hot water that may lead to scalding of the skin. You can use the elbow to check the water temperature instead. Also, if your feet get cold at night, wear socks.

Even seemingly harmless feet hazards may turn into serious conditions if you ignore them,    especially when you have diabetes. Ideally, you should consider consulting a podiatrist when developing your diabetes healthcare routine instead of heading straight to the pharmacy for over-the-counter products for taking care of your feet.

Monday, 23 July 2018

5 Important Tips to Take Care of Your Feet During The Monsoons

Despite giving you respite from the scorching summer, monsoon brings in a number of health hazards too, including those related to your feet. Stickiness, sweat and moisture are common elements during this season that often promote development of molds and fungus. If your personal hygiene with respect to feet is not taken care of seriously, you can become prone to various feet-related woes. Here’re five crucial tips to take care of this body part that perhaps gets the dirtiest in rainwater.




1. Perfect footwear

Choosing the perfect footwear is absolutely crucial during the rainy season. While gum boots are a wise option, you should avoid wearing canvas or sports shoes as they get wet easily and remain so for a prolonged time. This, in turn, could create a highly conducive medium for the growth of fungi, bacteria etc. Ideally, you should try wearing strappy sandals or open-toed plastic sandals as they dry faster.

2. Thorough cleaning

Thorough cleaning is another thing that helps your feet do well in the monsoons. Make sure to clean and rinse your feet well twice everyday to avoid development of any fungal or bacterial infection. Try soaking your feet in lukewarm water with a little amount of salt added to it. It’ll offer relaxation and remove any dirt from your feet. Also, remove your footwear as soon as you step inside to help your feet breathe.

3. Exfoliation

While thorough washing of your feet on a regular basis is perhaps the best monsoon foot care tip, you should also consider exfoliation to clean the pores of your feet more deeply and to make the skin revitalized. You can try a mixture of herbs, salts, moisturizers orsimilar ingredients thrown into lukewarm water for the purpose.

4. Foot therapy

Foot scrubs, soaks and healing creams are widely available, and they work effectively to restore the natural smoothness of your feet. Foot scrubs come loaded with healing oils, likethose of sunflower and jojoba, together with vitamin E. Apart from making your footpad supple, they also replenish the lost moisture. A foot soak is something that needs to be added to warm water, after which its fresh aqua scent and salt beads would help to cleanse and relax your feet. If you have excessively rough and dry feet, or suffer from cracked heels, healing creams can help soften them and eliminate the cracks.

5. Nail care

Another important way to take care of your feet during the monsoons is to frequently trim the nails. When your nails are long, they will be difficult to keep clean, and become more prone to the development of bacteria and germs beneath them. So, it’s wise to keep the nails short by trimming them frequently in the rainy season.

The old adage that says “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is perfectly applicable to our feet. While we should always pay serious attention to our feet, monsoon is the season when feet demand more care and attention. Any negligence on your part may lead to infections that couldcreate a lot of discomfort and pain, and even take a lot of time to heal. So, put these tips into effect right away and enjoy the monsoons to the fullest.

Friday, 22 June 2018

4 Steps To Stay Away From Sore Feet During Your Workouts


Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals released by the body during workouts. elicit the feeling of euphoria and lessen the perception of pain. Thus, if you’re having sore feet during exercising, you’re probably missing out on one of the biggest advantages of exercise – feeling good. While it’s true that small foot problems don’t make much difference at other times, during an exercise program, they can appear to be quite a big deal and may even make you compromise on your fitness goals. However, with some simple modifications and a little attention, you can effortlessly diminish the risk of developing sore feet during workouts. Here are four simple, yet highly effective,steps you can take to keep your feet feeling happy and healthy during workouts..

Image Courtesy : https://pixabay.com/
Choose the right shoes

Wearing proper shoes is the first step to take if you want to stay away from foot pain. Wrong shoes can uncomfortably angle your arch, triggering pain on the bottom of the feet. Shoes that provide too much or too little support can make the sole of the foot hurt while shoes that are too wide or too big allow your foot to move around during workouts, getting rubbed in the process, which then triggers discomfort and pain. Ideally, your shoe should come with good arch support, padded insoles, a solid heel counter and a flexible toe bed.

Start small

While it’s quite natural to become excited about your new workout regimen, doing too much at once is probably the fastest way to put the feet out of commission. Doing too much leads to problems like corns, blisters, ingrown toenails, and tendonitis, among others. The key to stay safe is to adopt a gradual progression that starts small and thus, allows your feet to get used to the new workout regimen.

Stretch and strengthen your muscles

Like any other body part, your feet can become overworked and tightened. Gently stretching the feet – rotating the feet from left to right, raising the toes upward or pointing them forward – decreases foot stiffness or tightness and alleviates heel pain triggered by plantar fasciitis. Exercises such as ankle circles, heel raises, lunges, squats etc. help to strengthen the muscles of the lower body as well. Once the key areas of your body become stronger, it’ll reduce the amount of shock absorbed by your feet.

Opt for cross-training

Just because you are surrounded by equipment meant for weight training it doesn’t mean you need to only use the machines and weights. Cross-training helps you maintain your fitness level whilst lowering the chances of worsening your foot pain. For example, if you are a regular runner, you can try easier cardio machines like cross trainers or exercise bikes. If any of these still hurt the heels, you can try swimming or elliptical workouts.

Conclusion

Flexibility of your feet plays a crucial role in preventing sore feet during workouts. Activities like rolling the sole of your foot gently on a golf ball or picking up a towel with your toes, can improve your foot’s flexibility. You can also try occasional barefoot walking on surfaces without edgy debris, like a sandy beach, to enhance the toughness of your feet.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Four travel tips for your feet

Whether you are going to the beach for enjoying the sun and the sand, or planning a hike, your legs and feet should be fit to sail through it all. But getting your feet travel-ready isn’t an overnight job. From treating foot issues like blisters and corns ahead of your trip to choosing the right shoes based on your travel destination and the activities you plan to indulge in, taking the right steps is important. After all, having aching and sore feet would take the joy out of your carefully planned travel itinerary. Yet, most people ignore their feet until it interferes with their travel plans. If you too belong to this list, here are some travel tips for your feet that could help.

Image Courtesy : https://www.pexels.com/
  • Treat foot issues and get your feet in tip-top condition: If you suffer from foot conditions like blisters, corns, calluses, or ingrown toenails, get them treated before your trip to avoid infections and other issues that may cause pain and discomfort during travel. In case you suffer from arch pain, bunion pain or pain in the heel, get it assessed and treated because during your travel, walking more than what you usually do or on uneven surfaces could aggravate the condition.
  • Select the right shoes: Depending on the climate of your destination and the terrain you need to travel to reach there, the amount of luggage you will be carrying, and the activities you have planned, select the right shoes that offer your feet adequate support and cushioning. In case you need to purchase a new pair, break them in before wearing them on your trip to avoid surprise blisters and other issues.
  • Take steps to avoid infections: Travelling to different climates, taking a dip in a hotel swimming pool or showering in different hotels during the course of your journey – all these can make your feet prone to infections like plantar warts andAthlete's foot. To protect your feet, wash and dry them, and wear rubber flip-flops around the pool and in shower. As a preventive measure,you may use a tea tree oil foot spray to reduce your risk of infections. 
  •  Wear flight socks, if needed, and use orthotics, if suggested: If you have a history of swollen feet and ankles after a long flight and are about to travel a long distance, choose flight socks with the right compression level and of the right size to ensure a comfortable flight. In case your podiatrist has suggested the use of orthotics, don’t forget them when you travel. Also, if you arebuying a new pair of shoes before your trip, get the right fit wearing those orthotics
      Traveling to and exploring a new place is an incredible experience, which you should enjoy to the optimum. If you forget to take proper care of your feet and they start feeling uncomfortable and aching so that the only thing you think of is reaching your hotel to kick off your shoes, your entire travel itinerary can soon turn from something you were looking forward to with great interest to an unpleasant one. Don’t let that happen because you truly deserve your hard earned retreat.