Thursday, 27 June 2013

Foot Exercises for Bunions


This is a bony outgrowth at the joint at the base of your big toe. If you suffer from a bunion, your big toe will point towards the other toes of that foot, pushing the joint outwards. Bunions can cause, pain, swelling and tenderness. Bunions could be hereditary, or they can arise due to wearing ill fitting shoes. It occurs more often in people who have flexible joints. Certain illnesses like RA and gout could cause bunions.

Treating bunions

There are a number of ways to treat bunions. Podiatrists usually try non surgical ways to treat bunions. Only in extreme cases will foot surgery be considered. Topical pain relievers help relieve the pain and swelling. There are spongy toe separators available. These can be tucked between the big toe and the next on, stopping the big toes from projecting inwards. 

Moleskin straps help hold the big toe in position. Toe alignment splints stop the projection of the big toe inwards. Gel bunion sleeves and tube foams are helpful. You can also get lesion pads which help heal wounds created, when the protrusion of the bunion rubs against footwear causing friction and blisters. 

These orthotic devices will only reduce the pain to an extent. In most cases, they will not be able to fully stop the inward projection of the toe. It works better in children as their foot is still in a formative stage. If you seek help in the beginning stages of the formation of a bunion, orthotics may be of more help. But usually people do not realize they are suffering from bunions till they start feeling the pain. 

Exercises for preventing bunions

Doming the foot

Sit in a straight backed chair and place your feet on the floor with both your feet together, keeping your feet relaxed. Now raise the arch of your foot off the floor balancing the foot on the big toe, little toe and the heel. Do not curl your toes. Now relax your foot once more. 

Half squat heel raises

Stand with your feet parallel to one another and slightly apart. Bend your knees as you go down for a squat and then straighten up and continue on to stand balanced on your toes with your heel raised. Try balance more towards your big toe. 

Raising your heel

This can be done sitting or standing, though standing heel raises are more effective. Stand with your feet slightly apart, feet parallel to one another and raise your heel off the floor, till you are balancing your body weight on your toes. Shift the balance as much as possible onto your big toe. Then lower your feet again. 

Squat to heel spring rise

Try this out slowly first and if you feel pain anywhere, do not do this exercise. You could try it sitting down. If standing, squat halfway and then spring up till your heel is slightly off the floor. Then, go down again to squat position. If you are sitting, keep the full foot on the floor and then raise the heel off and then back down. 

Repeat each exercise ten times to start with and work up to 25 repetitions a day. If you can’t do that many repetitions in one sitting, split it up over the day. If the standing exercises cause pain, do only the sitting ones. It is better to have your podiatrist show you the right way to do these exercises, as you do not want to hurt some other part of your body while doing these exercises. With a little help you could keep the bunions at bay!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A guide to choosing athletic shoes

The wrong type of footwear

Many foot problems arise due to wearing ill fitting footwear. People think formal footwear or evening footwear when they talk about bad fitting footwear. There is a wide range of athletic footwear available in the market. What do you do when your old shoes are worn out and you need new ones? You go to your favorite footwear store, and pick up a shoe that looks good and feels good. You walk about in it, up and down the shop and if it feels comfortable, you buy it. Little do you realize that choosing the right kind of athletic footwear is as important! 

If you are a couch potato who does minimal to no exercise at all, any pair of shoes is fine. But if you do any kind of exercise, like gyming, jogging, walking etc, you need to find the right footwear that will support that kind of activity. If you are into more athletic activities like basketball or football, even if it is in the park with your colleagues or friends, it pays to buy the right kind of shoes. 

Tips to buying good athletic shoes

Every kind of exercise uses different parts of your feet. You know that different muscles are used for different sports. You can feel the tension in those muscles when performing that activity. Likewise, different spots of your feet get stressed when participating in different kinds of sports. The shoes that you wear should support the area of stress, depending on the activity that you are performing. 

Test your foot

The first step to choosing the right shoes is to understand your feet. The best way to do that is to look at your last pair of worn out shoes. Check and see which parts of the shoes are worn out. Depending on your activity and the shape of your foot and your gait, the shoe will be more worn out in certain areas. Now you know which part of your feet needs more cushioning and support.

Read up on shoes

There is a lot of material online about the different kinds of shoes available. This is not merely marketing. Most shoes these days are tested thoroughly, and used by sportspeople, before being vetted as good for that particular activity.

Talk to your podiatrist

If you have any kind of foot problem it is a good idea to talk to your podiatrist and get their inputs. They could also give you more information on splints and guards to protect your feet.

Ask the salespeople

The salesperson knows the products inside out. If you explain to them the kind of activity that you indulge in, they will be able to help you find a shoe that is designed for that activity.

Don’t multi task shoes

Many people use the same shoes for running, basketball, skipping etc. If you regularly do a number of different sports at the same time, you should have shoes that complement that sport. Otherwise by using the wrong shoe for the wrong sport, you could end up injuring yourself. For example, walking shoes are stiff, running shoes are flexible. If you alternate regularly between both these exercises, you should have different shoes for each. 

Be aware of foot change

Due to sports or age and many other reasons, the shape of your feet and your stress points could change. So you should check your old shoes for new worn out spots, and see a podiatrist and get advice before getting new shoes.

Remember, shoes can make or break your foot!