How To Care For Your Feet In The Summer

Whether you’re walking on the beach, wandering your local park or enjoying your own backyard, going barefoot is one of the simple pleasures of summertime.

But bare feet need to beware. Cuts, puncture wounds and other barefoot injuries are waiting to happen.

To keep yourself and your feet safe this summer, keep reading!

 

A puncture wound can embed unsterile foreign objects deep inside your foot and trap bacteria.

A puncture wound must be cleaned properly and monitored throughout the healing process. This will help to avoid complications, such as tissue and bone infections or damage to tendons and muscles in the foot. You should see your podiatrist, or if it is after-hours, go the emergency room. Do not delay in getting care.

Apply Sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet. Many people are surprised to learn that skin cancer, including the most serious form, melanoma, does occur on the feet. In fact, melanoma of the foot is very dangerous because people rarely think to look for it on their feet which may result in a later-stage diagnosis. If you see any odd marks or unusual blemishes on your feet, be sure to see your podiatrist.

In Phoenix where our temperatures are well over 105 all summer, burns injuries to the soles of the feet may occur.  Protect your feet from hot surfaces especially concrete, pavement, stones, and pool decking.  If you develop a burn noted by redness, blistering, or worse breaks in the skin see your podiatrist without hesitation.  For weekend or after hour injuries go the emergency room.

 

Wear flip-flops or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms and beaches. It’s best to keep your feet protected to avoid cuts and abrasions from rough surfaces and sharp objects hidden beneath sandy beaches and to prevent contact with bacteria, fungus or viruses that can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts or other problems.

Inspect your feet and your children’s feet for skin problems. Going barefoot can increase your risk for athlete’s foot, warts, calluses and other skin problems. Inspect your feet (and your kids) regularly for any changes or signs of problems. The earlier a skin condition is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Sadly, every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. Others suffer serious burns from accidentally stepping on stray campfire coals.. Murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater.

People with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not “feel” an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin.

Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A podiatrist can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.

Treat Shin Splints with Foot Orthoses

http://lowerextremityreview.com/cover_story/medial-shin-pain-in-runners-evidence-for-orthosis-use

This article has a nice little review of shin splints, otherwise known as medial tibial stress syndrome.  The most likely cause of medial tibial stress syndrome is rotational problem of the leg anywhere from the hip down.  For some reason this was excluded from the article.  That is why custom foot orthoses work in treating shin splints, because of the ability to prevent excessive rotation.  Enjoy the article.

Do Your Feet Get “Tired” While Running?

I spend the majority of my day finding the flaw in people’s feet that explains why they are suffering from pain and deformity.  Usually it is this flaw that I can attribute to causing a problem with muscles, making them fatigue early.  The question always arises in the back of my mind, do people without the flaw in their foot also get muscle fatigue.  A recent study in the Journal of Podiatric Medicine answered this question.

 

The Effect of Moderate Running on Foot Posture Index and Plantar Pressure Distribution in Male Recreational Runners, took  30 men who run for exercise on a regular basis.  They examined the foot for flaws and excluded anyone who had a problem.  These men ran at 3.3 m/sec (7.3 mph) for 60 minutes.  The measurements reveal that all subjects suffered muscle fatigue leading to pronation while running.  This evil word “pronation” is the root of many problems in the foot.  The interesting part of this study is that even people who began the study with “very supinated” foot posture (that is the complete opposite of pronation) ended the run in a pronated foot posture.  This change altered the pressure on the ball of the foot and inside of the heel most.  This could explain pain in many people who run.

But what about runners who don’t have pain?  In a study of ultramarathon runners, Karagounis found the same changes in foot posture and pressure, but these changes resolved within 24 hours.  The take home message is that if your feet hurt when you run and the pain doesn’t go away in the first day after the run, you need help.  This could be as simple as adding support by orthoses or arch supports.  The risk of not getting help…stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis.

 

References:

Escamilla-Martinez E, Martinez-Nova A, Gomez-Martin B, et al: The Effect of Moderate Running on Foot Posture Index and Plantar Pressure Distribution in Male Recreational Runners, JAPMA 103(2): 121-125, March/April 2013

Karagounis P, Prionas G, et al:  The Impact of the Spartathlon ultramarathon race on athlete’s plantar pressure patterns. Foot Ankle Spec 2: 173, 2009.

Finding the right athletic shoe need not cost a lot of money, but does require some care

A nice little article to help you select shoes.

http://www.pennlive.com/bodyandmind/index.ssf/2013/04/finding_the_right_athletic_sho.html

 

Dr. Allan Grossman shows another criteria for picking shoes

for your children, or yourself. When bending the shoe the

upper area should not expand out (left) but should remain

normal (right), otherwise you will not get proper support

from the shoe, and can be injured.

Mark Pynes | mpynes@pennlive.com

Quick Recovery From Bunion Surgery

How are you going to take care of yourself after bunion surgery?  There are a lot of factors involved in planning for your surgery, not only by me, but more importantly by you.  If you have not already done so, download a copy of my ebook, “Top 3 Things To Know Before Surgery”.

Here are some things you need to plan for after your bunion surgery to make the recovery as easy as possible.

  1. Which foot is having surgery?  If it is your right foot, you will not be allowed to drive until the bone is healed.  This is a huge factor for everyone.  How dependent are you on your car?  Your recovery may involve physical therapy besides doctors visits, work, getting kids or grandkids to their various activities.  Plan for carpooling before your surgery to save you the headache and temptation to drive, which will slow your healing if you don’t follow instructions.  Your left foot is much easier unless you drive a standard transmission (stick shift).
  2. Weight bearing:  Bunion surgery involves creating a surgical break in your bone.  The area where your bone is broken will determine if you are allowed to walk after your surgery or if you will need a period of time without putting weight on your foot.  At Desert Foot Surgeons we discuss all of the options before your surgery and make training has been satisfactory before you have your surgery.  The various ways to stay off your foot are crutches, wheelchair, or knee walker.  A cane or walker are not adequate assistive devices for keeping weight off of your foot.
  3. The kitchen is the most dangerous room to be in after you have foot surgery!  Why such a harsh statement condemning the room everyone gathers to on a daily basis?  Cabinets!!  The area under your cabinet is just big enough to get a foot under, but when you have a surgical shoe, boot, or cast on your foot, not so much.  Appropriately named the toe kick, more often than not a patient will get their foot stuck beneath the kitchen cabinet and damage their surgery trying to get the foot out.  I find it easier just to avoid the cabinet area of your kitchen all together.  Prepare a weeks worth of meals before you have surgery.
  4. Three days of doing nothing.  If you can give me 3 days of laying in bed or on the couch with your foot above your heart, ice behind your knee, and barely take any steps; I can assure you that swelling, pain, and ultimately recovery time will all be much less.  The better behaved you are following the directions the first 3 days, the better your bunion surgery experience will be.

 

I want your surgical experience to go as smooth as possible.  The way to make sure this happens is to be prepared before you have surgery.

Bunion and Hammertoe Straighteners: Get Serious!!

Even though feet are like snowflakes, no two are the same; that lump or bump at the base of the your big toe and curling toes are getting painful.  Surgery does not fit into your plans with all the demands on you right now.  Maybe your busy schedule has you traveling where you pick up a magazine and notice the toe separator sock toting all the benefits of wearing this $20 sock that will straighten your hammertoes and bunion forever.  Seriously?!

I want everyone who reads this to memorize this next sentence.  I am here to make your feet better!  If a $20 sock would alleviate bunions and hammertoes, don’t you think that everyone in the world would use these?  I don’t want to take someone to surgery who can be fixed by wearing a sock to sleep.  Let’s face the facts, bunions and hammertoes are deformities.  There is an alignment problem with your bones.  Stretching the muscles will not change how your bones are lining up.

Reviewing the options for hammertoes and bunions other than surgery:

  1. changing your shoe style to avoid pressure on the painful area
  2. padding your painful bunion or hammertoe so that it doesn’t rub on your shoe
  3. anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen to relieve pain as needed

That’s all the options.  Notice that there is no splinting option because splinting doesn’t work.  I really wish it did, but it doesn’t.

If you have painful bunions and hammertoes and want to get a real opinion what can be done, come to Desert Foot Surgeons.  We fix feet!