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Foot Health Blog

Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
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Improve your golf game from the ground up!
Foot painImprove Your Golf Game From the Ground Up!It’s a fact that your feet are essential, not only for golf but for everyday life. If your feet hurt, then it disrupts every part of your life and can lead to pain and discomfort with every step you take. A quick check on the internet usually gives you a practical solution for your plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and Achilles tendinitis, but what about day-to-day foot care? Treat your feet with a bit of respect, and you'll notice the difference! Skin Care The largest organ structure by surface area is the skin. It’s responsible for keeping the good stuff inside the body and the bad stuff outside. This is especially true of the skin on the foot, as it also is thickened in key areas to help protect the body from injury. To keep your skin working correctly, it needs to be kept soft and supple to ensure that the friction created between the shoe and its top layer, the epidermis, is minimized. This is best done using foot creams containing urea as it is proven to penetrate any dry skin and promote healthy skin growth. The only exception to this rule is the skin between the toes. Always keep creams away from this area; otherwise, the skin becomes macerated (too moist), and fungal infections, such as athlete's foot, or bacterial infections can take hold. Nail Care Ingrowing toenails are often caused by poor nail trimming and are easily avoided by cutting the nail straight across and resisting the temptation to cut down the edges of the nail. If you do get an ingrown toenail, make sure to seek medical advice straight away from a podiatrist because, if you leave it untreated, it will get worse. Final Tip Get professional advice. Go and see a podiatrist if you are having any problems with your feet and let them sort you out - you won’t believe the difference.
What’s the best way to recover from a sporting injury?
Foot painWhat’s the Best Way to Recover from a Sporting Injury?The experience of many clinicians is that too much rest can make it far more challenging to get back to sport quickly due to the associated weakness that also occurs. For example, a tear to one of the foot's small muscles needs rest due to the pain. However, as well as resting the damaged muscle, the other parts of the foot are also inactive, leading to an overall deconditioning of the body. The pain goes away, and off we go back to our favorite sport at the same intensity as we did before. The result is usually an injury to another part of the body, leading to more rest, more deconditioning, etc. So, What Should We Be Doing? The 1st thing is to get an accurate diagnosis of precisely what you have damaged. The treatment approach for a fracture will often necessitate rest, but more and more total immobilization is not prescribed as the repair process for the bone requires a degree of loading to make sure it heals strong enough to function back to normal. The same approach is now being used with ligament, muscle, and tendon injuries. The research demonstrates that the correct loading of the damaged structure early in the rehabilitation process is essential for a full recovery. The problem is that this loading so early after an injury is often excruciating and therefore counterintuitive – the last thing you want to do is cause more damage, right? So back to the take-home message, an accurate diagnosis is essential! Just being told you have pulled a muscle is not good enough, especially with the advances in medical technology, and a good clinician should be able to explain what they believe is damaged. Sometimes a working diagnosis is needed due to the complexity of the human body, but a treatment plan should be built around it to ensure a successful recovery.
How to reduce pain from past injuries to improve quality of life
Foot painHow to Reduce Pain from Past Injuries to Improve Quality of LifeAs athletes surely know, age matters. Even professionally trained athletes feel the toll time takes on their tendons and ligaments. They become stiff, lose flexibility, and are significantly more prone to injuries. And if that’s not enough, this often leads to a chicken-and-egg situation: The pain in your feet causes you to exercise less or incorrectly, leading to further reduction in mobility and increasing the chance of more pain. The negative impact doesn’t stop there. When feet are incorrectly positioned, the entire body is set off balance. Knee and back muscles are forced to compensate, resulting in further injury and damage. The cascading effects of these issues, combined with the cumulative impact of previous sports-related injuries, can be felt even years after an athlete retires and significantly reduces their quality of life. The mobility impairment and pain join many other struggles waiting for former athletes as they retire. As described by Karen Gallagher, a senior postdoctoral research scholar at the Global Sport Institute: “You have put your body through a whole lot, you are more likely to sustain concussions (injury)... and you are losing the camaraderie.” Thus, it is even more crucial to make sure retired athletes have the best tools at hand to ensure optimal foot health and mobility. The Good News? There’s a Way to Break This Cycle Good foot support can make a dramatic difference, prevent further damage, and help with safer movement. Wide, stable shoes are a good starting point since they are readily available. Ideal protection, however, comes from a customized fit and personalized design. Custom orthotics do more than support, as they fill the space between the inside and the shoe and the foot arches (3 in total). Those are ideal conditions for both comfort and healthy foot function, leading to a noticeable improvement. “A combination of supportive shoes and well-crafted custom orthotics is the ideal setup,” said Philip Wells, Head Podiatrist at Upstep Custom Orthotics. On top of their ‘known’ benefits, they improve overall walking mechanics (gait) via longer strides. Simply put, you take fewer steps, which means your feet, knees, hips, and back sustain less impact.”
Great feeling feet start with great skin
Foot painThe Importance of Skincare for the Health and Feel of Your FeetOur skin is one of those things that, unless it bothers us (either its appearance or the way it feels), we don’t really give it a second thought. However, our skin is essential. It protects us from infection, stops us from dehydrating, and even coordinates our balance. Why Is Skin Health Important for the Feet? When it comes to our feet, our skin has the additional task of protecting the muscles, ligaments, and bones from damaging forces such as pressure and friction, which it can only do if it is in optimal condition. Hard skin, especially on your heels and under the ball of your feet, can be the primary cause of pain. The skin on our feet is different from the rest of the body in that it is much thicker with many more sweat glands, but no oil glands. This lack of oil glands means that it tends to dry out much quicker. The skin also grows quicker in response to friction and pressure, leading to a vicious cycle – the thicker and dryer the skin, the less effective it is at protecting us from friction and impact, causing the skin to thicken, etc. When it comes to sports, the biomechanics of the skin are especially important as impact and friction are significantly higher, and maintaining the elasticity of the foot is key to foot health. When used together with custom orthotics, an excellent moisturizing routine directly affects walking mechanics and overall comfort. Top Tips for Proper Foot Care 1. Use a quality foot cream daily Unfortunately, regular face and body moisturizers do not work in the same way due to the addition of foot-specific ingredients. To use foot cream correctly, simply: Apply it after a bath or shower when the skin is most receptive to absorbing the creamApply it all over the foot except between the toes (moisture in this area can lead to “Athlete's foot” - A common fungal infection that occurs when the integrity of the skin is compromised ) 2. Use great foot scrubs These are both invigorating and effective at improving the penetration of moisturizers. Use them once a week for the best results Supercharge your moisturizing regime by using the double sock method: Apply your foot cream as usual, then put on a damp sock.Add another sock over the top of the first pair to protect bed linen.Leave on overnight and take both off in the morning. Extra tip -if you don't like the feeling of wearing socks in bed, cut off the toe areas of both pairs, which will make the feeling a lot more comfortable. So, take good care of your skin; your feet will thank you.
Heel pain and golf
Foot painHeel Pain and GolfThe most common foot complaint I have seen is heel pain, and golfers are no different. However, heel pain is not a medical diagnosis, and I often find that the cause of the pain in the golfing foot is different from other groups of patients. The most overused self-diagnosis is plantar fasciitis, with heel spurs running a close second. On examination, however, these diagnoses are far less common. The Most Common Causes of Heel Pain Plantar enthesopathy, where the tendon of the Flexor hallucis muscle and the medial slip of the plantar aponeurosis attaches to the heel bone, and calcaneal hyperostosis (severely bruised heel syndrome) are most common. In fact, these two will often be present at the same time if the heel pain has been left untreated for a long time. More severe causes of heel pain, especially around the inside of the ankle, are also often seen. The usual culprit is PTTD (posterior tibial tendon dysfunction), as golf adds another stress level to this muscle and tendon. With the foot being fixed on the ground when taking a shot, this muscle will often have to work much harder to support the arches of the foot and prevent them from collapsing. This extra load leads to tendon damage that can be significant and take months to heal. The original cause of the problem is often not apparent, but careful questioning will usually lead to a culprit being identified. For example, a change in shoe manufacturer or model, an increase in activity (more golf), a job change, or simply a minor, once-off injury from climbing ladders or standing on a sharp rock will usually be responsible. Best Treatments for Heel Pain The treatment plan will include Golf Custom Orthotics, changes in footwear, and exercises for the foot, legs, and hips. In extreme cases, the body needs total rest and special immobilization boots, like those used when a fracture has occurred. These will be used to give the body a chance to start the healing process. The take-home message is to make sure you get a diagnosis as soon as possible, as this will often lead to a much quicker and long-term resolution so you can get back to enjoying your golf.
Should you hold your body a certain way when you run?
Foot exercisesShould You Hold Your Body a Certain Way When You Run?Running often means dealing with injuries, but what is it that actually causes these injuries? The truth is that there is no correlation between the position of your body while running and how likely you are to get injured. Read the full post to learn more! How Does Your Body Position Affect Your Running? The human body is a complex machine, and the way we move it affects how it operates. This is true for runners as well, and it's not surprising that runners deal with many injuries. After all, there's a lot of pressure placed on our bodies as we run. In fact, a variety of factors determine how a runner's body reacts to the movement and forces it endures. The mechanics involved in running include kinematics, kinetics, and biomaterials. All three of these affect running injuries: Kinetics are defined as "forces that act on a body or part of a body." As you run, forces push your joints, muscles, and bones in different directions. This could lead to inflammation or problems with your joints.Biomaterials are what your body uses for protection. They're the muscles, tissues, and other substances that make up a runner's body and shield it from injury. The quality of these biomaterials will determine how susceptible you are to damage or inflammation when running.Kinematics refers to how your body moves while running. When you run, your foot lands on the ground and then pushes off to propel you forward again. This can happen in various ways - heel-toe striking, mid-foot striking, or forefoot striking, for example. Up until recently, it was common to assume these also impacted your chances of getting hurt while running. This assumption was tested in a recent study, and the results were surprising: It seems there's no real correlation between biomechanics and injury rates. In fact, it doesn't look like the way you're running (or how you hold your body as you do) is related to your chances of injury at all. This is a really interesting issue because it demonstrates how human bodies don't always react the same when we do the same thing. What Factors Can Lead To Injuries From Running? When it comes to running, other factors have a much more significant impact on injury rates. For example, the runner's age and weight may have a significant impact - especially as our biomaterial protection does deteriorate for many older or heavier people. Other possible factors could be: Your nutrition.The amount of support you have.Your level of experience.Surface conditions or terrain.How gradually you're building up speed and distance. Conclusion So, should you hold your body in any particular position while running? The answer is: not really. What may help reduce your chance of injury is training gradually, eating well, making sure you get good support, and running on even terrain to minimize risk. Good luck!
Got blisters This method can help!
Foot painHow to Reduce the Risk and Symptoms of BlistersThere's nothing more frustrating than getting blisters from a pair of new shoes - we all know the struggle. Blisters happen when force is placed on our skin. If it's a delicate area or there's repeated pressure, the chance of blistering increases. Can You Become Resistant to Blisters? According to a study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, there's a way to "train" your skin, making it more resistant to blisters. The study found that skin subject to repeated friction of a certain kind became more resistant to frictional forces. With thicker epidermis and larger cells, the skin actually adapted to the friction, creating a protective section that's less prone to blisters. While this study focused on the skin of mouse ears (yes, you read right), additional research indicates that this is true for human skin, too. Studies conducted tests on the skin of thighs, back, buttocks, shins, forearms, upper arms, palms, and soles of feet. What Causes Blisters? To understand why thicker skin means less blistering, we need to first delve into the mechanism behind blistering. When pressure or friction is applied to the skin, the top layer (called stratum spinosum) tears away from the tissue below. The body immediately fills the space with fluid to protect the tissue and prevent further damage. Once the blister is formed, the body pushes amino acids and nucleosides to the area to create new, healthy skin above the torn tissue. When the skin is thicker and denser, it spreads the load better on the skin's surface. That means a lower risk of mechanical fatigue (i.e., tearing), leading to a lower risk of blistering. However, note that creating skin that is too thick and calloused is not recommended. It may make it harder to treat blisters that do form. How Can You Build Up a Resistance to Blisters? Here are a few tips to help you do so: Break in new/stiff shoes or insoles by wearing them for a short time, then gradually increasing until you're entirely comfortable.Start doing new activities, like running or hiking, for a shorter amount of time - and increase that time as you go along.If you're noticing excessive friction in a specific location, use a bandaid to cushion the area. This way, you can gradually expose your skin to friction to encourage adaption.When you're not wearing your shoes, try and keep your feet dry to promote healing.