How to Have Happy Healthy Feet

This month we are talking about feet.

As you can imagine our podiatrist Louise Rehill from West Berkshire Foot Clinic has quite a lot to say on the matter. She has written a brilliant blog on the top 5 conditions that she sees and how you can prevent them, treat them yourself and when to seek professional help. To read the full blog follow this link. To summarize the important parts essentially we need to remember to look after our feet.

  • Avoid wearing ill-fitting footwear. Shoes that are too tight can cause excessive pressure whilst shoes that are too loose can cause excessive sheering and friction.  This can cause damage to the foot and lead to corns or ingrowing toenails.
  • Wash and dry your feet regularly and try to wear cotton socks rather than no socks or nylon ones. This will help stop your feet from smelling and reduce the chances of fungal infection of your toes.
  • Keep the skin hydrated with a urea based emollient such as Gehwol. Dry skin can be more likely to develop into corns and callus. Emollients work best applied twice daily!
  • During the warmer weather we are more prone to cracked heels. These can usually be caused by wearing open- backed shoes and the foot rubbing around the edge of the shoe. The fatty pad of your heel also expands sideways in an open-baked shoe which, if the skin is dry, can lead to splitting or cracks within the heels. To prevent this apply a moisturiser such as flexitol twice a day and use a diamond deb foot file once a week when the skin is dry to reduce the amount of hard skin building up. However if the problem persists you may need to visit a podiatrist who can remove the hard skin and any painful splits and prevent them from getting worse.
  • Verruca (or verrucae if there are more than one), is the term given to describe a wart on the foot. What can you do about them. The best thing is to leave it alone and to wear flip flops around the house and swimming pool. If painful or persistent seek advice from a HCPC podiatrist.
  • If you have diabetes it may affect your feet in a number of ways and in some cases can lead to serious complications. One of the early changes can be loss of sensation in your feet often starting at the toes. This may be gradual and go unnoticed, which is why it is important that you receive an annual foot assessment with a Podiatrist. When the nerves are affected other changes may follow. Your toes may begin to change shape and claw and the bones in your feet can become more susceptible to fractures.

Here is some simple advice for anyone with diabetes

  • Always check your feet everyday looking for any colour changes or damage to the skin. If you see anything unusual contact your podiatrist to get it checked.
  • Clean and dress any cuts or scratches as diabetes can affect the way you heal and reduce your natural ability to fight infection.
  • Avoid walking barefoot as you may have lost some feeling in your feet and it may be possible to unknowingly damage them.
  • Always ensure your shoes fit correctly
  • Never sit with your feet too close to a fire
  • Always check inside your shoes with your hand before putting them on for any added delights that may have fallen in!
  • If you have any bony prominences to your feet – check for rubbing and protect them with a silipos pad if required.
  • If you have corns and calluses get these removed by a Podiatrist as it can lead to ulceration if left untreated.
  • Do not under any circumstances use corn plasters! They burn holes in the skin and can lead to ulcerations!

To hear more about general foot health and advice you can also listen to our podcast with Louise in which we discuss all things feet.

Apart from general foot health the way in which your feet work during each footstep can have a big impact on the rest of our body. As Ben Fedrick from Ben Fedrick Injury Therapy says

Often flat feet (overpronated) are cited as a bad thing, as are high arches (oversupination), in my experience as long as a foot has mobility then their shape in resting is somewhat irrelevant.

Our feet are our shock absorbers, if rigid, they fail to adapt to uneven surfaces, meaning the ‘shock’ has to be dissipated elsewhere (potentially the knee or hips).

When your foot is in maximum pronation the hip naturally compresses and when the foot is in maximal supination the hip decompresses. However, you cannot achieve one without the other.

Don’t let the foot hold back your hips movement potential, build from the ground up, happy feet, happy hips, happy body

Rosie Piercy, Chiropractor from Total Chiropractic agrees.

I often see patients with foot, ankle, knee, hip or low back pain that is coming at least in some part from how their feet are working.

Faulty foot mechanics can cause the pressure generated during walking and running to go through the wrong part of each joint in your legs. Which can lead to pain, muscle and joint tension and injuries. I often find that alongside chiropractic treatment and rehab for the injured area orthotics can help solve faulty foot mechanic. Orthotics are shoe inserts that can be tailor made to your specific needs to to help improve how your foot functions during each footstep.

Leonie Remington reflexologist from LKR therapies says that your feet tell a lot about the general health and well-being of your body. Abnormalities or pain in specific areas can be an indication in an imbalance in the function of the body’s organs and systems. It is in this way that reflexology can help restore the natural balance of your body and may help in dealing with stress.

It is interesting to see how important our feet are and how important it is to look after them. For more information do get in touch to see how we can help keep your feet healthy and happy.

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