Thursday, 26 December 2013

Remedial measures to prevent occurrence of athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a kind of fungal infection which affects skin of the feet. Tinea Pedis, commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a particular foot condition which is not only restricted to sportspersons but can affect anyone, irrespective of age. In fact, an interesting study says that around 70% of population might suffer from athlete's foot at some point in their lives. There are few simple measures following which it is possible to avoid this specific foot syndrome. However, before talking about remedies and preventions, it is important to know specific reasons and symptoms related to athlete’s foot.

Take a close look at your feet to notice these signs:-

Does the skin feels extremely dry, appears reddish and there is a constant irksome feeling like itching or burning sensation in your feet? If these symptoms are more apparent between toes then there is enough reason to worry. The sole of your feet or skin between toes being soft and sensitive, infection starts from these portions only. Sometimes the affected area appears wet and white on the surface. If the infected portion is not taken care of, then you might notice blisters, peeling or cracking of the skin. In worst cases, the infected portion starts bleeding.

Athlete’s foot infection spreads very fast from contaminated surface or object. The source can be your room floor on which you walk daily or clothes that you wear often. Though athlete’s foot can happen to anyone but elders or individuals with poor immunity system are most likely to catch the infection faster. Diabetic patients are at greater risk too.

Measures that can be adopted to prevent athlete’s foot:-

When it comes to washing, foot is one portion which often remains neglected. While most are very particular about washing hair or face daily, the same can’t be said about their feet! It is important to note that regular washing of your feet with mild soap and water followed by thorough drying is the best way to say “No” to athlete’s foot. Before trying out someone else’s shoes and slippers give it a thought. These might be carriers of the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.

Choose your shoes carefully. Opt for materials that allow your feet to “breathe”, like leather or canvas. Avoid ill fitting or too tight shoes which restrict air circulation. If your feet tend to catch moisture easily then cotton socks is a preferred option. Walking barefoot, especially on damp surfaces, should be strictly avoided. Applying antifungal powder also helps in keeping the foot free of moisture. Change your shoes from time to time.

How to treat athlete’s foot:-

If the infection strikes in spite of following precautionary measures then a proper treatment is highly advisable. You may need to take some antibiotics to get rid of the fungal infection. Application of antibiotic cream also helps in cleaning the affected area. Rather than popping up antibiotics on your own, do get in touch with an expert podiatrist. Further it is recommended to continue the treatment for some time, even if the infection appears to have healed.   

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Foot Care for the aging – Foot Problems – Home Remedies

Old age results in several foot conditions, some of which can turn severe if not treated in time. A study shows that approx. 87% of aged population suffers from at least one foot condition. Widening and flattening of feet is one such common problem which elders mostly experience. Fat padding on the sole of the foot starts wearing with age and the skin becomes drier. Painful blisters, corns or foot infections start raising their heads. Thus walking becomes discomforting. Serious accidents may also happen anytime if the person loses his balance when walking. Then foot problems seldom indicate several serious ailments like diabetes, arthritis or poor blood circulation. No wonder human foot is often termed as the “mirror of health”.

People usually have this idea that it is normal for the feet to hurt with age. This is surely a misconception. With proper foot care, it is possible to prevent or treat many foot conditions successfully, so that you can lead a normal and healthy life till old age. Before taking a step, it is important to know what is ailing your feet.

Ø  Look for early signs

If your feet often feel numb and cold, accompanied with burning or tingling sensation, then there is reason to worry about. Don’t ignore dry skin, redness, skin cracks or brittle nails. Discoloration is another serious indication that something is wrong with your feet.

Ø  Try some home remedies to keep your feet in healthy shape

Just because your feet is hurting, that doesn’t mean you stop walking or doing exercises. Rather stress on these aspects and make sure to do exercise which improves blood circulation of your feet. Since the skin of your feet has become sensitive it is not a good idea to go barefoot. Always use stocking of right size, preferably without seams.

Many have this tendency to cut corns or calluses on their own. This is a strict no-no! Doing it yourself with an unsterilized razor, pocket knife or sharp instrument can prove to be more harmful. It is not advisable to apply over-the-counter corn products.

Keep your feet clean by washing it with lukewarm water and mild soap. Then apply foot moisturizer. Such a routine done on daily basis surely helps prevent skin dryness.

Be very careful in selecting footwear. Rather than stressing on style, emphasize on the comfort factor and pick out shoes with a firm sole so that your foot gets adequate support. Opt for soft upper; thus your feet won’t hurt while walking.

Ø  Why do you need to consult a podiatrist?

An expert podiatrist can provide the right support to your aging feet. Being thoroughly trained about each aspect of foot problems he knows precisely what can be done to prevent sore feet or how to treat diabetic foot, ingrown toenails, calluses, corns and arthritic feet. He suggests therapeutic or surgical treatments, after assessing the patient’s condition. He also offers guidance related to right orthotic selection.

If you really want to keep your feet in mobile condition till old age then regular visits to the podiatrist are suggested at least monthly once, rather than doing so on emergency basis.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Morton's Foot Syndrome – What causes it and how to treat it

Every human being has certain imperfections which are inherited genetically, a few traits which are passed on from the parent to the child. Morton’s Toe is one perfect example of such inheritance. While nothing can be done to prevent passing on of this unintended gift from generation to generation, certain measures do help in easing pain to a great extent.  

What exactly is Morton’s Foot Syndrome?

Look down at any normal foot and you will find the first toe as longest and largest. Remaining toes are shorter and the size reduces proportionately so that the fifth toe becomes the smallest one. While such foot structure is widely seen, there are rare cases where the foot exhibits Morton’s Toe pattern. This is a particular type of forefoot disorder when the second toe is either of same length or a tad bit longer than the first toe. This is not because the first toe is actually shorter than the second one but it is the relative length difference between the first and second metatarsals which define this specific foot condition.
Morton’s Toe/Morton’s Foot Syndrome was first described by Dr. Dudley J. Morton, an orthopedic surgeon, researcher, physician and author. Greek Foot is another name used for the syndrome. A study says that an approximate of 10% of the world’s population have this type of particular bone configuration in their feet.

Problems associated with Morton’s foot

Lateral instability in the foot may result because of hyper mobility of the big toe and first metatarsal. Patients might feel like walking on ice skates. This doesn’t sound quite comfortable, especially if you are in a hurry to reach the destination! According to research conducted by specialists in the podiatric field, Morton’s toe is one particular phenomenon which can cause several other serious ailments. The patient may suffer from back pain, discomfort in the knee and hip portions. Arthritis is one common condition experienced by those having Greek Foot. Other health problems like bunions, hammer toes and Fibromyalgia are also considered to be direct outcomes of Morton’s Foot Syndrome.

How to get relief

Many would opine that Morton’s Toe being genetic, there is no permanent cure for this particular foot problem. While it is indeed true to certain extent, but there are certain effective measures which do work in lessening the effect. However, it is advisable not to take any drastic step like popping up painkillers on daily basis, only because the pain has become unbearable. Do consult an expert podiatrist and know his opinion.
There are some simple solutions which work just fine with Morton’s Foot Syndrome. Shift to comfortable footwear with high and wide toe boxes. Try out orthotics designed with metatarsal pads. The basic purpose of these measures is to offer relief from pain by properly distributing uneven pressure of the foot. There are many who have benefited by resorting to massage therapies too. The only word of advice is that don’t try out any procedure on your own. Be it starting any kind of therapy or designing a suitable orthotic, an expert podiatrist’s guidance is the right way to proceed towards a painless and firm step.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Plantar Fasciitis – Causes and Remedies

Foot conditions can be of different types of which plantar fasciitis is a common one. When you feel pain in the bottom of the heel portion then it might be related to plantar fasciitis. The thick connective tissue which supports arch portion on the bottom of the foot thus helping in proper movement is known as plantar fascia. Though its prime function is to act as shock absorber it can get damaged or inflamed due to excessive pressure on the foot portion. The end result: stiffness, discomfort and extreme heel pain.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Reasons are many. People having obesity or weight gain problem are prone to plantar fasciitis. Sudden weight gain can trigger such foot condition. This is why pregnant women often experience bouts of plantar fascia pain. Long distance runners or those who need to stand for long hours for job purpose can suffer from this problem too. The age group of 40-70 who lead very active life is at highest risk level as well. Again study shows that women usually suffer more from this particular foot problem. There are many who tend to get affected with conditions like very high arches or flat feet. Such situations might also result in plantar fasciitis. Tight Achilles tendons can cause plantar fascia pain too. It is seen that shoes having soft soles or poor arch supports can sometimes lead to plantar fascia problem. However it is a misconception that heel spur may result in plantar fasciitis.

How the problem is diagnosed?

It is up to the foot specialist to detect if the patient is indeed suffering from plantar fasciitis. A physical examination is done to check tenderness of foot and precise point of pain. The podiatrist carries out a thorough evaluation to assess the patient’s reflexes, muscle tones, response to touch and sight, his co-ordination and body balance. An X-Ray or MRI is advised to check out if there is any bone fracture.

How to treat plantar fasciitis?

The basic treatment aims at reducing inflammation. In general home remedies or stretching exercises are suggested to take care of plantar fascia pain. In case the condition turns too unbearable then the doctor might suggest anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections. However it is never advisable to take medicine without proper medical advice. The extreme step is surgery which is advised only when the condition has turned extremely severe.
Another treatment often suggested by podiatrists is night splint which acts like brace and helps stretch calf and the arch portion. This results in lengthening of plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and that too real fast. Night splints offer great relief from morning foot pain or stiffness. Many patients get fast respite from plantar fascia pain by shifting to specially designed orthotics or arch supports. These help distribute foot pressure, thus preventing greater damage of plantar fascia. Proper footwear which provides extra comfort by cushioning the heel portion and absorbing shock has proved to be quite effective for this particular foot problem.
Ignoring plantar fasciitis can lead to severely painful conditions and other ailments. Hence a timely treatment is always advised.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Foot arthritis and its effective cures

Foot is one integral body part which needs to be in perfect shape, so as to ensure healthy living. It may sound unbelievable but the fact is that a normal human being needs to take almost a million steps in a year! Hence it is quite natural that after a certain age several foot conditions start raising their heads, foot arthritis being the most common of them. According to medical practitioners, now-a-days, foot problems start showing at much younger age which is indeed a matter of concern. Discussed below are several aspects of foot arthritis and its effective cure.

What is foot arthritis and what are its effects:-

Arthritis results in serious foot conditions which can restrict the patient’s mobility and normal functioning to a great extent. Basically there are three types of arthritis because of which your feet can suffer. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the lining of joints thus destroying bones, joints and tissues. Patient usually starts feeling discomfort in the foot or ankle portion. If not treated at an early stage the problem can take a serious shape. Some researchers feel that the condition is caused because of the presence of some 
particular types of genes.

Osteoarthritis is an even more serious arthritis when cartilages, covering ends of bones, are damaged so that when these uncovered bones rub against each other, it causes stiffness, weakness and severe pain.

Obesity, family history or old age is considered common causes of Osteoarthritis. Post-traumatic arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis but the only difference is that it develops due to trauma or injury of the foot. Fractures and dislocations are the most common types of injuries that may lead to Post-traumatic arthritis. Most often this problem starts showing years after receiving the injury.

How to be sure about foot arthritis?

The best answer is to visit a foot specialist who will carry out thorough examination of the foot with focus on the painful area. The patient’s medical history is also taken into consideration so as to assess if the foot condition is related to any past foot injury or whether arthritic problems run in the family. Depending on the severity of the condition, the podiatrist may suggest X-ray so as to have a clear view of the bone structure. The patient may be asked to do the Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI, which also assists in diagnosis.

Best cure for foot arthritis:-

If the pain is insufferable, doctors might prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines or cortisone injections. However such treatments are usually advised for limited period. Podiatrists mainly stress on shifting to comfortable footwear and orthotics like shoe inserts or arch supports, so that your feet get better padding and shielding from extreme stress.

In acute cases, customized shoes or orthotics are recommended. Care needs to be taken so that the orthotic is manufactured as per the Podiatrist’s instructions. Apart from these, physical therapy helps relieving pain and foot stiffness. Doctors further prescribe nutritional supplements so as to strengthen bone structure and body resistance. Surgery like Arthroscopy or joint replacement is mostly regarded as the last resort.