All Posts in Category: Foot Care

Man with Diabetes checking his feet

Diabetic Foot Care Tips

12 STEPS TO HEALTHIER, HAPPIER FEET

Foot problems associated with diabetes are a signifcant portion of the health risk and cost. Here are 12 steps to healthier, happier feet!

Take care of your diabetes

Make healthy lifestyle choices to keep your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure and cholesterol close to normal. Doing so may help prevent or delay diabetes-related foot problems.

Check your feet every day

You may have serious foot problems without feeling pain. Check your feet for cuts, sores, swelling and infected toenails every day.

Wash your feet every day

Wash your feet in warm water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry. When you’re done, dry well, especially between your toes. Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin between your toes dry.

Keep your skin soft & smooth

Rub a thin coat of skin lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not moisturize between your toes, as this could trap moisture and lead to further skin problems.

Smooth corns & calluses gently

If you have corns or calluses, check with your doctor or podiatrist about the best way to care for them. If they tell you to, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses after bathing. Rub gently in only one direction to avoid tearing the skin.

Trim your toenails each week

Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry your feet. Trim toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nail file. Don’t cut the corners of the toenails. You may ask your podiatrist to trim your toenails.

Wear shoes & socks at all times

Do not walk barefoot, even indoors, because it’s easy to step on something and hurt your feet. Always wear socks, stockings or nylons with your shoes to help avoid blisters and sores. Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well.

Protect your feet from hot & cold

Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement, and put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn. Wear socks at night if your feet are cold. Be sure to wear warm shoes or boots in cold weather

Keep the blood flowing to your feet

• Put your feet up when you’re sitting
• Wiggle your toes for five minutes two or three times per day
• Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time
• Don’t smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet
• Work with your health care team to control your diabetes

Be more active

Ask your doctor to help you plan a daily activity program that’s right for you. Walking, dancing, swimming and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet. Always include a warm-up and cool-down period, and wear athletic shoes that fit well and provide good support.

Be sure to ask your doctor

• Check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet annually
• Tell you if you’re likely to have foot problems
• Show you how to care for your feet
• Refer you to a good podiatrist
• Decide if special shoes would help your feet stay healthy

Get started now

Begin taking good care of your feet today. Set a time every day to check your feet. Note the date of your next visit to the doctor. Most importantly, stick to your foot care program.

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Bunion Treatment New Orleans Podiatrist

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. This movement forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing an often-painful lump of bone on the foot. Because this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated.

THE HOW & WHY OF BUNIONS

  • Bunions form when the normal balance of forces exerted on the joints and tendons of the foot is disrupted. This disruption can lead to instability in the joint and cause the deformity.
  • They are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint.
  • They are usually caused by the way we walk and our inherited foot type.
  • Neuromuscular disorders or congenital deformities can cause bunions.
  • An unsupported shoe can contribute to further hypermobility. Narrow-toed shoes can aggravate symptoms

Symptoms

  • Development of a fi rm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe.
  • Redness, swelling, or pain at or near the MTP joint.
  • Corns or other irritations caused by the overlap of the fi rst and second toes.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the big toe.

BUNION TREATMENTS

What can YOU do?

  • Use commercial, nonmedicated bunion pads.
  • Wear wide shoes. Avoid high-heeled shoes.
  • Apply ice packs to reduce swelling.
  • If pain and other symptoms of inflammation persist, see your podiatric physician.

Conservative Treatments:

  1. Padding and taping: minimize pain and help keep the foot in a normal position.
  2. Anti-infl ammatory drugs and cortisone injections: help ease acute pain and infl ammation.
  3. 3. Physical Therapy: provides relief from pain and associated soft tissue involvement.
  4. Orthotics: prevent worsening of the deformity.

Surgical Options:
Surgical options are used when early treatments fail or the bunion progresses past the threshold for conservative treatment. Surgery will remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and relieve pain.

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Five Common Foot Problems

Fighting The Five Most Common Foot Woes

From eating better foods to getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercise, we live in a very health-conscious society. So why is it that many Americans routinely overlook one of the cornerstones of good health? While nearly 70 percent of Americans say they want to be healthier five years from now, just 51 percent recognize that foot health can be a key to achieving that goal, according to a survey from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

“Nearly eight in 10 adults have experienced some type of foot ailment in their lives. Yet despite the pain, close to three in 10 do nothing about it, simply choosing to live with their pain,” says Denise Elliott, DPM, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center and APMA member. “Meanwhile, more than half of those surveyed said they had endured foot pain at some point in their lives but have not sought treatment from a podiatrist.”

So what are the five most common types of foot problems, and what causes them? Here are some tips from today’s podiatrists:

  • Nail problems are one of the most prevalent foot woes in both men and women. These problems can range from ingrown toenails to fungal infections. “Ingrown toenails—a condition in which the corners of sides of a nail dig painfully into the soft tissue of the nail grooves—is the most common form of nail problem,” Dr. Elliott says. To avoid ingrown toenails, trim nails straight across and don’t dig into the corners. If a toenail becomes infected, see a podiatrist immediately for treatment. Those with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and other circulatory disorders should seek a podiatrist’s care on a regular basis to help prevent complications.
  • Sweaty feet and foot odor are two foot conditions that are often experienced together. While stinky feet are definitely embarrassing, feet that sweat excessively can lead to other foot problems, even creating an environment conducive to the development of athlete’s foot. Closed shoes make feet sweat, but in the winter you can’t avoid wearing them. Instead, practice good foot hygiene. Wash feet daily with soap and water, keep shoes and socks dry, and choose socks that wick away moisture. Change shoes and socks regularly and consider rubbing cornstarch or applying antiperspirant directly onto the soles of your feet.
  • Pain in the ball of the feet — Nearly one-third of adults have reported pain in the balls of their feet. Pain in this location can be caused by over-exertion, injury, or ill-fitting shoes. To avoid pain, always wear well-fitting, supportive, activity-appropriate shoes when walking, running, or engaging in other physical activity. If necessary, replace the insoles that came in your shoes with ones that provide additional cushioning.
  • Heel pain — This type of pain can have many sources, including weight gain, excessive foot flattening, muscle imbalance, injury, or even improper footwear. To kick heel pain to the curb, always be sure to warm up and stretch properly before and after exercise. If wearing high heels, opt for heels that are no more than two to three inches in height. For persistent pain, treatment can range from prescribed orthotic devices and medications to cortisone injections, physical therapy, and rarely, surgery.
  • Bunions — A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe. Treatments range from self-remedies such as using a bunion pad around the bony prominence, to ice packs to reduce the swelling, and to avoiding shoes that could irritate the bunion and even make the problem worse. For persistent pain, see a podiatrist for a full range of treatment options.

“While foot problems are common, that doesn’t mean people should be resigned to living with pain,” Dr. Elliott says. “Consulting today’s podiatrist can help people feel better sooner, and get back to living healthier lives.”

Denise Elliott, DPM, is a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Center in Marerro, LA.  Call 504-349-6633 or visit http://footandanklenola.com to make an appointment. Visit www.apma.org to learn more about foot health and care.

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Benefits of Bath Salts For Feet

Benefits of Soaking Feet in Epsom Salt

Epsom salt, derived from distilled mineral-rich water, is a widely used health and beauty product. Named after the town of Epsom in England, this commonly used bath salt is actually a mineral compound containing magnesium and sulfate. Epsom salt is widely touted and used as a treatment for sore muscles, joint pain, arthritis and skin disorders. Despite sparse research on the effectiveness or even the mechanism of action, there are some reasons why Epsom salts may provide benefits to the foot.

The Claims

A home remedy for generations, Epsom foot soaks are purported to relieve aches and pains, decrease inflammation, improve circulation, and soften and deodorize the feet. Epsom salt is also claimed to have anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties — and soaking feet in Epsom salt baths is reported to help heal a variety of foot and skin infections, including athlete’s foot, toenail fungus and small wounds. Epsom salt is even claimed to detoxify the body and relieve stress. However, the benefits of Epsom salt is mostly based on personal testimonies and its longstanding reputation, as there is little research to back up these claims.

The Research: Skin Absorption of Minerals

Since magnesium deficiency can lead to foot cramps and pain, Epsom foot soaks are believed promote magnesium absorption through the skin which helps relax muscles and nerves and lessen foot discomfort. But there isn’t research that supports topical application of magnesium is effective in increasing body magnesium stores, according to a 2012 review published in “International Journal of Cosmetic Science.” However, another review article published in the June 2014 issue of “Experimental Biology and Medicine” suggests that skin absorption could occur given the right conditions — such as with heat or high salt concentrations. In addition, minerals from the water are able to be absorbed if the skin is broken, as in a cut or scratch.

The Research: Healing Properties

Epsom salt is also touted to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. While there is a lack of research supporting these benefits, there may be some reasons why these foot soaks work. First, soaking feet in water will help clean the feet, removing substances that may risk or worsen infections. Warm or hot water improves blood flow to the skin which can promote healing. Because most bacteria do not thrive in a salty environment, soaking feet in Epsom salt could inhibit the growth of the microorganisms that cause infection. Finally, soaking feet in warm or hot water feels good. It’s relaxing, soothing and reduces stress, and this may simply make you feel better.

How to Soak Feet in Epsom Salt

To enjoy a Epsom foot soak, add one half cup of salts to a small tub that holds enough warm water to cover the feet up to the ankles. Or add 2 cups to a standard size bath tub. Soak feet for 30 to 60 minutes. Combining Epsom salt with essential oil is a relaxing aromatherapy bath treatment. Store the essential oil in a jar with a lid and add a few spoonfuls to bath water.

Precautions

Topical Epsom salt is not known to have any negative impacts on health; however, excess use of Epsom foot baths can result in dried, cracked skin on the feet. Use a foot bath only two to three times a week for duration of 30 to 60 minutes. Individuals with very dry skin should try using less Epsom salt and massage the feet with moisturizer after drying them. Even though Epsom salt may help heal of minor wounds, in certain cases medical treatment will be necessary. If you have diabetes, or if you have nerve damage or poor blood flow to the feet, consult your doctor first with any sores, wounds, redness, swelling or foot pain. Anyone with severe foot pain or redness or pain following a foot injury should also see a doctor.

Source: LiveStrong.com

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tips to prevent blisters

Tips on How to Prevent & Treat Blisters

Don’t let painful blisters keep you from staying active! Stay on your feet with these helpful tips from Today’s Podiatrist.

How do blisters form?
Blisters form when there is friction against the foot, which can cause the outer layer of the skin to rub together, separate, and fill with fluid.

What causes blisters?
• Ill-fitting shoes
• Sweaty feet, especially if you do not wear moisture-wicking socks

Should I pop the blisters?
You should never pop blisters because you can run the risk of potential infection. Those with diabetes or poor circulation and the immunocompromised are at increased risk for developing infection.

If I can’t pop the blisters, how should I treat them?
• Apply a Band-Aid or gauze to the affected area
• Avoid whatever footwear caused the initial irritation and blister development
Make an appointment with Foot & Ankle Center if the area starts to smell or have discharge

How can I prevent blisters from forming?

• Buy proper-fitting shoes. Get your feet professionally measured so you are confident in your foot size and always remember to go shoe shopping toward the end of the day, as feet tend to swell during the day and physical activities.
• Wear moisture-wicking socks to prevent excess moisture, which can lead to blister formation.
• Try using different foot powders and creams to keep friction to a minimum.

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