Keep Your Feet Young, Healthy, Beautiful and Active

Understanding the Impact of Pregnancy On the Health of Your Feet

Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding the Impact of Pregnancy On the Health of Your Feet

Morning sickness and back pain are common complaints during pregnancy, but the changes to your body that pregnancy brings can also affect your feet. As your bump grows, your centre of gravity shifts and this can cause your feet to experience strain beyond that required for normal daily activities. Additionally, the release of a pregnancy hormone called relaxin can affect the supportive structures of your feet. Relaxin softens the ligaments and blood vessels in your body to prepare you for labour, and when the ligaments in your feet soften, your feet can spread out and lose strength. These two changes can lead to you developing fallen arches and oedema during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Here’s an overview of these two conditions: Oedema Oedema is commonly known as swollen feet and occurs in pregnancy when your circulation slows down as a result of your blood vessels softening, which makes it difficult for them to push fluid up from your legs toward your heart. You might think oedema doesn’t sound too serious, but the effect of relaxin on your circulation can leave you at an increased risk of developing varicose veins and blood clots, so you should always have oedema reviewed by your doctor or podiatrist. You can encourage the fluid that pools in your feet and lower legs to move up toward your heart by raising your legs above your heart for a few minutes at regular intervals throughout the day. Additionally, gentle exercises can encourage better circulation by causing your leg muscles to contract, which promotes the flow of blood through your legs. Your podiatrist can show you exercises you can do at home and at work to minimise the effects of oedema. Fallen Arches Your foot arches can collapse during pregnancy as a result of increased weight and changes to your gait. When your feet flatten due to the additional pressure on their supporting structures, you can experience pain when walking. This pain occurs due to inflammation of the joints in your feet, which is caused by your feet rolling inwards when they lack appropriate support. Fallen arches can be easily managed with the use of orthotic insoles. Your podiatrist will measure your feet and order a pair of custom-made insoles that will give the arches of your feet additional support and reduce pressure on your joints. Your podiatrist can also advise you on the types of footwear that offer the best support during pregnancy. If you experience any foot pain during your pregnancy, schedule a foot exam with a podiatrist practice as soon as...

read more

Don’t Fall Flat: Everyday Care For Feet With Fallen Arches

Posted by on November 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Don’t Fall Flat: Everyday Care For Feet With Fallen Arches

Flat feet may sounds like a minor, easily ignored condition to many of us, but those of us unfortunate enough to suffer from fallen arches know just how debilitating this innocuous sounding condition can become. Without the support of a properly formed arch, a flat foot can become swollen and painful as overworked tendons become damaged, a problem exacerbated by sports, exercise or even a gentle stroll.  However, there are many treatments available that not only relieve the discomfort of flat feet, but help correct the shape and mechanisms of the fallen arch or arches, with the end goal of reshaping the foot back into a healthy curve. Your podiatrist will discuss the various treatments available with you in detail – what you will be offered depends largely on the nature and severity of your flat feet: Minor cases If your flat feet are causing pain and discomfort, but are not considered seriously damaged enough to warrant corrective surgery or other invasive treatments, your podiatrist will generally offer the following treatment options: R&R – In many minor cases, resting the affect foot or feet is the easiest and most effective treatment. Intermittent swelling and/or pain (for instance, after a long walk) will ease off fairly quickly if the tendons are allowed to relax – you can supplement treatment with ice packs to reduce swelling more quickly and partially numb pain. Analgesics – Painkillers are temporarily prescribed in many cases, and usually take the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, to reduce inflammation alongside alleviating pain. Physiotherapy – If pain caused by fallen arches is a minor but chronic problem, limited physiotherapy can help. Exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the over-exerted tendons in the arch of the foot can help to reduce symptoms, and can be performed at home or under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist. Deep tissue massage to accompany the therapy can help relieve strain on tired lower leg muscles. Orthotic insoles – Special orthotic insoles can be worn inside your shoes, to slowly reshape your feet as you walk. These devices are a good long-term treatment, but can be painful or uncomfortable to use at first. You should also make sure to use insoles that have been customised to fit your feet – generic insoles some in standardised sizes and shapes and can do more harm than good in some cases. Severe cases In the event of a totally collapsed arch, where the whole of the sole of the foot is touching the ground, more serious corrective procedures may be necessary: Corticosteroids – in cases of severe pain and inflammation (for instance when an arch tendon has become partially torn) a direct injection of corticosteroids into the affected foot can provide quick and effective relief. However, corticosteroid use should be kept to a minimum, as long term use can lead to some nasty side effects. Other orthotic devices – If simple insoles aren’t cutting it, larger braces or casts that support the ankle and calf as well as the foot may be more effective. These larger orthotic devices can be more cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear, but the extra support can assist your lower leg muscles in adjusting to your changing foot shape, speeding the corrective process. Surgery – Surgery to correct a fallen arch is generally considered a...

read more