Category Archives: Foot Care

How Sports Injuries Can Affect You Later in Life

For many of us, one of life’s great joys was playing sports in our youth. A lot of you know I’m an avid cyclist and have been for some time now, but there is always the daunting possibility of an injury that can have ramifications decades later. You probably even know someone who played softball or football in high school or college who still has a bad back or knee from an injury that went without proper treatment. Our feet, ankles and knees are particularly susceptible to damage as they carry the weight of the body and act as pivot points when we change direction or are undergoing strenuous activity. Sprains, stress fractures and torn or stretched ligaments or tendons are all common causes of pain later in life.

Sprain Pain

Often considered a common and collateral injury of even mild activity, sprained ankles usually don’t get the attention they should. The ankle is surprisingly vulnerable.  Few of us give much thought to stepping off a curb funny or experiencing pain when playing a sport like tennis. However, according to Dr. Hubbard-Turner of the University of North Carolina, student athletes with chronic ankle instability and sprains were significantly less mobile than their uninjured counterparts. What does this mean? We should get sprains checked out and treated appropriately as soon as possible to prevent an increase of immobility and painful arthritis as we age.

Stress Fracture Detractor

Stress fractures can range from a tiny crack in the bone to heavy bone bruising. Runners, tennis players and yes, even cyclists are prone to these fractures as our feet take a heavy beating during these activities. HealthPlus reports that almost 60% of athletes who have a stress fracture are likely to get another one later in life. Because fractures  are not a full break, it can be tempting to push through the pain. Do not do this, because the fracture can worsen or turn into a full break if put under enough stress for a long enough time. Without proper treatment, stress fractures lead to chronic discomfort, limited mobility and more fractures down the line.

Achilles Tendon

Your Achilles tendon is the band of tissue running from your heel up the back of your foot to your calf.  Sports with highly repetitive actions like basketball and high jump force this tendon to work harder than it is often used to which can lead to tendonitis or ruptures. You’ll know if you had Achilles tendonitis, because the pain radiates down your calf and often causes pain in your heel or on the bottom of your foot. If left unchecked or prevented from heeling properly, you’ll notice the tendon thickening and hardening which reduces mobility and makes walking very painful.

There are many ways new and old sports injuries can be managed and, in many cases, successfully healed. Seeing a medical professional should be your first step in assessing the severity of your injury and what options are available. In some cases, simply resting and icing can suffice but with older injuries it may take a more hands-on approach. Remember pain is not normal, if you’re suffering seek medical attention so you can get on the road to recovery!

3 Ways to Identify Foot Injuries

I like to think of us all as a fine wine: we just get better and better with age! But, unlike wine, there can be a few bumps and hurdles as we move along. For those who are now caregivers for an aging friend or relative, we want to be sure we are as attentive to their needs as possible.  Although, many of us aren’t always sure how to know if something is a minor ailment or needs to be addressed immediately. This month we’ll dive into a few tips you can follow to assess your loved one’s foot and ankle health in order to catch something before it gets out of hand.

How is Their Circulation?

Chronic foot pain is a common complaint as we age. This can range from shortening of the Achilles tendon to flattening of the arch. To make sure there aren’t underlying circulation problems at play you can try a few simple tests.

  • Press gently on some of the capillaries and veins along their feet. Typically, they will return to their normal color within a few seconds.  However, if it takes longer than 3 to 5 seconds, this could be a sign they are suffering from poor circulation.
  • Take a look at the condition of the skin on their feet. How is the color and temperature? If you notice it changing since the last time you checked or the skin is very dry, this could also be a sign of poor circulation.

Neuropathy

A large percentage of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes and the chance of it affecting you increase as you age. Neuropathy can manifest as hyper-sensitivity, numbness or ulceration.

This goes hand in hand with the capillary test mentioned above. Gently press along different areas of your loved ones’ feet and see if they experience any abnormal sensitivity or lack of feeling. This can indicate the beginning stages of neuropathy. A healthcare professional has special tools to allow for a more precise measurement.  So, if you suspect neuropathy, you should schedule an appointment right away.

Changing Foot Geometry

Bunions, hammertoes and other prominent bone structures will cause a great deal of discomfort. If left unchecked or proper footwear isn’t implemented, they can cause ulcerations on the feet, changes in gait that will affect the hips and lower back and even increase the chance of balance problems.

  • Consistent visual inspection of your loved one’s feet will allow you to note any changes in their foot geometry. Is their bunion growing? Is their shoe causing callousing or sores due to excessive rubbing?  
  • You can also check their shoes for the wear pattern on the insole. If they are beginning to wear the outside edge of one side of their shoe over the other, this can indicate discomfort and lead to the other issues I mentioned above.

These tests and checks are all preliminary. Only a medical professional can truly identify and diagnose potential health hazards with your loved ones, but these tips can provide a way to help identify the early stages of common foot and ankle ailments before they begin severely impacting your love one’s life or cause further problems down the road.

3 Ways to Identify Foot Injuries

I like to think of us all as a fine wine: we just get better and better with age! But, unlike wine, there can be a few bumps and hurdles as we move along. For those who are now caregivers for an aging friend or relative, we want to be sure we are as attentive to their needs as possible.  Although, many of us aren’t always sure how to know if something is a minor ailment or needs to be addressed immediately. This month we’ll dive into a few tips you can follow to assess your loved one’s foot and ankle health in order to catch something before it gets out of hand.

  1. How is Their Circulation?

Chronic foot pain is a common complaint as we age. This can range from shortening of the Achilles tendon to flattening of the arch. To make sure there aren’t underlying circulation problems at play you can try a few simple tests.

  • Press gently on some of the capillaries and veins along their feet. Typically, they will return to their normal color within a few seconds.  However, if it takes longer than 3 to 5 seconds, this could be a sign they are suffering from poor circulation.
  • Take a look at the condition of the skin on their feet. How is the color and temperature? If you notice it changing since the last time you checked or the skin is very dry, this could also be a sign of poor circulation.
  • Neuropathy

A large percentage of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes and the chance of it affecting you increase as you age. Neuropathy can manifest as hyper-sensitivity, numbness or ulceration.

  • This goes hand in hand with the capillary test mentioned above. Gently press along different areas of your loved ones’ feet and see if they experience any abnormal sensitivity or lack of feeling. This can indicate the beginning stages of neuropathy. A healthcare professional has special tools to allow for a more precise measurement.  So, if you suspect neuropathy, you should schedule an appointment right away.
  • Changing Foot Geometry

Bunions, hammertoes and other prominent bone structures will cause a great deal of discomfort. If left unchecked or proper footwear isn’t implemented, they can cause ulcerations on the feet, changes in gait that will affect the hips and lower back and even increase the chance of balance problems.

  • Consistent visual inspection of your loved one’s feet will allow you to note any changes in their foot geometry. Is their bunion growing? Is their shoe causing callousing or sores due to excessive rubbing?  
  • You can also check their shoes for the wear pattern on the insole. If they are beginning to wear the outside edge of one side of their shoe over the other, this can indicate discomfort and lead to the other issues I mentioned above.

These tests and checks are all preliminary. Only a medical professional can truly identify and diagnose potential health hazards with your loved ones, but these tips can provide a way to help identify the early stages of common foot and ankle ailments before they begin severely impacting your love one’s life or cause further problems down the road.

Facebook Post: Living a long life is a beautiful thing! Whether you’re 80 years young or just hitting your 40s, you want to make the most of your day. This month, we take a look at tips caregivers can follow to identify their discomfort with their loved one and stop it before it becomes more serious.

Sources: http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/0515p22.shtml

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378512216301438

https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-aging-affects-your-feet-1337806

4 Common Practices Damaging Your Nails

With spring and summer like weather many folks bring out their favorite sandals, flip-flops and open toed shoes in rebellion to the confines of the shoes we typically wear in the winter. What better way to show off your favorite open toed shoes than with a new manicure and pedicure? Nail polish is a great way to accessorize, but some polish chemicals and techniques can be highly detrimental to your nail health. Toenails grow at just a fraction of the rate of your fingernails, which means any damage caused can hang around a lot longer than you think.

  • Using Polishes with the ‘Toxic Trio’

Most polish manufacturers are beginning to move away from these chemicals, because of their health risks.  However, formaldehyde, toluene and dibutylphthalate are still present in some products on the market. All three of these chemicals are known for their carcinogenic or toxic effects, so it’s always a good idea to check the label on your favorite polish to see what is being applied. Don’t be afraid to ask your pedicurist what polishes they are planning on using on your feet or hands.  Pedicurists work with a wide variety of products everyday and should be able to recommend brands with natural or non-toxic ingredients.

  • Give Your Nails a Break….So they Don’t!

Over time, heavy use of polishes, acrylics and gels can cause your nails to yellow and dry out. Much like your skin when it comes to makeup, your nails need time to breath, refresh and rehydrate in order to stay in top shape. Heavy nail treatments act like a varnish, sealing them away from air and preventing some of their natural restorative cycles. Plus, chemicals, like those mentioned earlier, can draw nutrients out of your nail leaving them thin and easy to break or tear.

  • If You Change Colors, Avoid Acetone

There are thousands of different colors of polish these days and each goes perfectly with a different scenario, so it can be really tempting to want to change your polish color frequently. Be careful! Many of the solvents commonly used to quickly remove polish, like Acetone, are extremely harsh on your nails leaving them dried out and easy to damage. 

  • Don’t remove polish with your fingers

Now, I know I said you should be careful using solvents to remove polish from your nails, but you shouldn’t chisel color off with your fingers either. When you pick and peel your nail polish or lacquer off, you’re not just removing the color, you are also removing the top layer of your nails. This might seem harmless at first, but it can significantly weaken the nail and leave it susceptible to other abrasives or damage.

5 Tips to Avoid Toenail Fungus this Season

Toenail fungus is becoming more common this time of year since it’s warming up. This irritating condition is a hassle to deal with, which is why we collected our top 5 tips to prevent toenail fungus:

1. Change your socks

Nail fungus loves moist and dark environments, so sweaty feet and wet socks are the perfect environment for toenail fungus. No matter whether you go hiking or have a stressful day at the office, make sure to have an extra pair of socks with you. Your colleagues will appreciate it as well!

2. Clean your toes

Just like your teeth, your toenails need to be cleaned. The more regular you clean, the lower the chance of getting toenail fungus! Once a day is probably more than enough, but twice a day makes sense when going to the gym or engaging on any other physically challenging activity.

3. Wear sandals

Talking about the gym: public showers and locker rooms are filled with bacteria and moisture, so wear sandals to protect your feet when going to the gym or local pool.

4. Use antifungal sprays or powders

Some people naturally sweat more than others, so control sweat by spraying antifungal sprays/powders inside your shoes and on your socks.

5. Wear shoes that fit

If your shoes are irritating your toes, they are most likely irritating your toenails. Any irritation increases the risk of getting toenail fungus, so make sure your shoes don’t touch your toenails. Alternate the shoes you wear so that they can air out before you wear them again.

Let’s all try to prevent toenail fungus for happier healthier feet, and keep your eyes open for upcoming blogs about toenail fungus detection and treatment options.

Toenail Fungus