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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Back to School Shoe Shopping

If my kid doesn’t complain about sore feet, do I need to worry about what I put on his feet? Some children spend most of their days running around the yard barefoot all day and never complain about a thing until they step on a nail or thorn. Other children will wine all day about their feet hurting. So what do you need to be looking for when you are shopping for new shoes for the new school year?

My kid never complains!

Wow! Can we trade? Alright lets be serious all kids complain but not all kids complain about their feet. It is best to actively ask the child, “Do your feet hurt? Do you feel pain in your feet when you are out playing?” Some children ignore the pain because they are having so much fun. Think about how awesome it is to be on the soccer team or play in the park with your best buddies… You wouldn’t stop unless you had to. How many kids pee in their pants because they don’t want to stop playing?

There no special accommodation, devices, or exercises that are required for healthy foot living. There is a level of common sense that needs to come into play though… for some this is difficult. Kids shoes can be trendy, inappropriate, and can lead to pain.

Stay away from the following
· Pointy toes
· Platforms
· Flip flops
· Stilettos—Teenagers love to sacrifice comfort for style!
Standard Shoes for Back-to-School
· Good Athletic Shoes (light colors are preferred for the gym and will decrease sweating)
· A wide toe box for dress shoes

My Kid Does Complain about Their Feet!

It is not uncommon for children to have foot and ankle problems. The good news is that these are highly treatable! If your child is complaining about foot pain, seeing a podiatric physician will help prevent complicated problems in your child’s future. Common problems can range from flat feet to ingrown toenails. Treatment is often non-invasive and conservative. Children can be prescribed special insoles known as orthoses and physical therapy to help strengthen the weak or ill-working muscles, joints, and ligaments. Children tend to be extremely active, so podiatric physicians can work around sport schedules and care for their feet to optimized their performance and enjoyment of their preferred after school activities.
Save your child from grandma’s bunions and dad’s recurring ankle sprains. Seek consultation on your child’s foot pain from a medical professional such as a podiatric physician. Even if your child is not experiencing pain, remember to use common sense when shopping for this year’s new shoes!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Better Sex With High Heels

Italian Researcher Claim Better Sex with High Heels

I have heard many claims about high heels and health but this one really caught me off guard. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Italian researchers have discovered that wearing high heels changes your posture and increases the strength of your pelvic muscles. They took the research findings one step further and say that this will lead to better sex! They also make the claim that ballet style flat shoes have been causing an increase in foot pain and thus it is healthier for your feet to wear high heels.

As a Podiatric Physician, I have never had a patient ask me how footgear could affect their sex life. I am a foot and ankle specialist, but I guess I don’t know everything. I will agree with the researcher’s claim that heels can cause changes in one’s posture. The new posture may be good for your pelvis muscles but bad for your back, knees, and especially your feet. My experience with heels tells me that there must be a better way to have better sex.

Wearing heels causes changes in your center of gravity. In order to stay balanced, your body curves the back. Your butt and your chest sticks out further. Though this may make a woman’s figure more appealing to the wondering eye, it causes disruptive changes in one’s joints and leads to pain. The changes in back curvature causes a decrease in shock absorption. Thus, your back feels more of the stresses caused by standing or walking than normally.

Heels put your foot an abnormal position. Our body is not designed to walk only on the balls of our feet. Thus, many experience pain in their foot, but also in their knees. When in a constant toe pointed position, the foot has less ability to push off the ground. To compensate, the knees bend and our leg muscles have to work harder than normal to walk. The muscles pull on the joints of the knee and foot, which can lead to destructive damage over long periods of time.
There is no such thing as a healthy heel for your feet. Wearing heels increases the likelihood of bunions, corns, open lesions, generalized foot pain, plantar fasciitis…. I could go on for days. The report also talked about how high heels could be better for you than ballet style flat shoes. Many mistakenly think that when their doctor says high heels are bad for you, that flats are healthy- but that is not true. A healthy shoe is one that give s you proper support. The fashionable high heels and flats do not give you any support! Switching to flats after wearing heels for many years can be especially painful. Wearing heels tightens your calf muscles, and wearing flats pulls on the Achilles, and can cause tears in the tendon and muscles.

So if your love life is in a lull, I recommend staying out of high heels. No matter how strong your pelvic muscles are, the pain associated with high heels could be quite distracting between the sheets.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flip-Flops: Cute But Dangerous

Many of us northerners are just seeing the first days of spring. One day of sunshine and we rotate our closet, pack up the sweaters and pull out the shorts and spring dresses. However, what is summer without the flip-flop sandal. You can find them in every color and every store! Let’s face it, we all have enough pairs of flip-flops to last us a lifetime. We know they are not the most sensible shoe gear, but we wear them anyway. Maybe we need to be reminded of all the horrible things that happen when wearing flip-flops.
The Accident!
Can you imagine how many times you have stubbed your toe or dropped something on your foot? When wearing a flip- flop, you have almost zero protection. Every year there are countless injuries to the toes from people running in flip- flops! Broken toes, fractured bones, and toenails ripped right off. You may think I am over exaggerating, but unfortunately, I am being very honest. Everyone from toddlers to grandmas is coming to the ER because of a foot injury while wearing flip-flops.

The Burn!
Sunscreen is now mainstream and most people remember to apply SPF before exposing themselves to the sun. We pay close attention to our nose, cheeks and shoulders but do you put sunscreen on your feet? We often forget about the feet, but skin cancer can appear anywhere. Podiatrists have been taking more biopsies for suspicious growths than ever before. When wearing flip-flops you have almost no coverage on your feet, so do not forget to protect the skin with some sun block!

Where is the Support!
The traditional flip-flop is nothing more than a flat foamy plastic that is bendable and twistable. You can only imagine the amount of support it gives your foot. NONE! It may protect your foot from feeling the surface you are walking on but that is about the extent of the flip-flop function. Our foot takes on a lot of stress throughout the day and we need shoes to help absorb the workload or else our feet tire and become painful. Flip-Flops may lead to aches, pains, and the dreaded plantar fasciitis. We also tend to grip the sandals with our toes as we walk, this can lead to ugly hammertoes!

Now, let us be very honest. It is summertime and the last thing we want to do is go to the beach in athletic shoes. It is hot and humid and we want our feet to breath! If we must wear sandals, then we must be sensible. There are number of brands that have developed sandal lines with sufficient support and a little bit more protection. Traditionally these types of sandals were not very stylish, but today fashionable, healthy sandals are much more commonplace. So this summer, keep those flip-flops in the closet and opt for a comfortable and reliable sandal!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rihanna Attacks Chris Brown with Stilleto!

Rihanna and Chris Brown’s domestic dispute is the hot topic everywhere. Chris Brown if claiming self defense and now Rihanna is backing him up! According to friends of the couple, Chris claims that Rihanna came after him first using her stiletto as weapon. Are high heels a weapon!

Ladies, don’t worry about protecting yourself with a gun or pepper spray. Just slip on those red high heels and you have your weapon of choice. Just take a look at your or your lady’s stiletto. The heel comes to a sharp point that would easily cause damage to the attacker. It is easy to grip, and goes with your outfit! What more could you want from a weapon?

Maybe it is true that a high heel can be used for personal protection but let us not forget who the real victim is. It is you. Though heels are sexy, stylish, and fun to wear, they can cause significant damage to your feet. There is nothing sexy, stylish or fun about an ugly foot. According to the American Woman in Podiatrist, a heel of one inch causes knee strain and once the heel reaches three inches there is more than seven times more pressure on the balls of the foot. This is unnatural. Our feet were not designed to function this way! When you put your foot under this pressure, you are compromising the normal biomechanics of walking or even standing.

What does this all mean? Under the blisters, aches and pains, your foot may be redesigning itself. Many of us have heard about ancient Chinese foot binding. They would painfully wrap young girl’s feet in an unnatural position and overtime the foot would deform to the binding. The process was excruciating and the women lived with pain for the rest of their lives. The stiletto is almost a modern day foot binding. If you wear heels often, your muscles, ligaments, and tendons may change. Your body naturally does this to compromise for the abnormal pressures and position. These adaptations cause disruptions in normal foot functions even when you are not wearing heels. This will lead to deformities. Have you ever seen a bunion?

Deformities are not the only side effect. A neuroma is a common benign nerve tumor that causes horrible pain. High heels or any tight toed shoes can lead to neuromas. A tight shoe forces your foot to be squeezed together. Your bones are more likely to cause friction or irritation to surrounding tissues. This persistent irritation leads to neuroma. Though there is no real threat to having a neuroma, it does cause significant pain and impedes on your daily lifestyle.
Blisters! Ouch. Not only do they hurt but they increase your chance of infection. I don’t care what the occasion; a foot infection is not sexy or stylish.

There are tons of remedies for achy feet. If we wore better shoes, our feet wouldn’t hurt so badly. I will admit most shoes that our healthy for your feet are not stylish and do not highlight a ladies figure like stilettos. So I am willing to meet you half way. Everything good in life should be enjoyed with moderation. Once and a while wear those red high heels and have a good time. Don’t forget to leave you pepper spray at home. You will be wearing Rhanna’s weapon of choice!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Year and New Shoes

As the month of January continues to march along, how many of us are losing confidence in our new year’s resolution. The biggest problems with new year’s resolutions is that it is only an idea and we never prepare, adjust our schedule, or truly invest in our future. So hear is your mid-January resolution pep talk. If getting in shape and exercising was your new year’s resolution, you need a starter package! First dedicate time into your schedule. It is like lunch. It is in your schedule every day. It may get pushed back or shorter depending on the day but you always eat eventually. You will always exercise ever day! Find something you enjoy doing. If you get board running around the track, don’t do it. Try out community classes, new sports, and get a work out buddy! Most importantly, you have to be physically prepared for the activity. See your physician if you have any current medical conditions to learn about activities best for you.

Ladies, I have great news! You need to buy new shoes – Doctor’s Orders!

Not all sports are created equal and they cause different stresses on your body and especially your foot and ankle. Pushing, slamming, crushing, jamming, twisting, and turning; your shoes and feet are taking a beating. If you are pulling your old athletic shoes out of the closet, you probably need to move them to the garbage. Athletic shoes break down over time and lose their supportive properties. Depending on the sport and how often you use them, shoes should be replaced every 3-6 months. It is also important to buy sport specific shoes. Different sports or exercise programs involve varying movements and are at special paces. Your supporting structure should accommodate these different stressors.

Your new shoes need to be well fitted. Make sure to go shoe shopping in the afternoon since your feet do increase in size throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to try on different sizes. You may think you are a size 8 but sizes do vary from brand to brand. Most people wear their shoes too small. This can slowly cause deformities and complications of your feet. So how do you know it is the right size? It is most important that your shoe bends where your foot bends and that the widest part of the shoe is at the widest part of your foot. After this is established, then look to see where your toes are. There should be at least a finger’s breadth of space from your longest toe to the end of shoe. You may need to try several different brands, styles, and sizes to find the perfect match. Also, make sure you stand up and walk around in the shoes on BOTH feet. Your feet are not the same size so what feels right on one foot may still be too small for the other.

After you find the perfect fit, and you start your work out, don’t be discouraged if you began to feel foot pain. Over 75% of the population has at least one foot problem. Increasing activity may aggravate your condition, but there are simple answers and solutions. Most foot problems are due to the biomechanical structure and function of your foot. When these problems are present, it is common to experience pain in your feet, ankle,s knees, and back, but using orthotics quickly corrects the problem. Orthotics help control and correct the biomechanical function of your feet. Since not all feet are created equal and we do different activities, custom orthotics is the best solution. A podiatric physician can cast your foot and a mold will be created. A lab will then use that mold to form an insert. Depending on your history and physical, the doctor and lab chooses specific materials, and accommodations to accommodate and correct your specific foot structure and biomechanical function.

So go buy some new shoes and get to the gym. You are not allowed to use the excuse “my feet hurt too much.” Podiatric physicians can help you find the right shoes and help relieve pain while you continue to gain at the gym! It is a new year and time for new shoes and a new you!