One particular ailment that is seen on a regular basis from my patients is dry feet. It is unfortunate that such an easily solved condition still manages to plague so many toes, heels, arches, and ankles. Not only does dry skin feel uncomfortable but can lead to cracks in the skin. Why do I care about dry skin that end up with cracks? Not only do patients complain about the unsightliness of their xerotic lower limbs but the cracks are a break down in the skin, and skin is your first barrier against infection. Once the pathogens pass the open skin barrier it has an easier time making a home and causing more chaos, in the form of infected wounds.
First, remove the buildup of excess skin on your heels, and other high-pressure areas. This can be accomplished simply by using a cream with a mild emollient. A common skin softener found in moisturizers is urea. Only use the urea on the tough thick areas of your skin. In our office, we carry a range of moisturizers but one for corns and calluses that has a higher concentration of urea than other drug store brands.
A pumice stone can be used in conjunction with the urea cream. Select a pumice bar with medium coarseness, one that is too rough might cause more damage to your feet. It is best to use the pumice stone after taking a shower, or the day following urea cream use because this is when your skin is the most supple.
Finally, use a good moisturizer and use it regularly. Moisturizer does not need to bear a fancy name or an exotic scent to be effective, most basic moisturizers do the trick. Often lotions with fragrances are the source of skin irritation. Look for moisturizers with as many of the following ingredients; jojoba, ceramides, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid. The best time to moisturize is right after a shower. Once the lotion is on your feet cover with socks to hold the moisture. For socks that even assist with moisturizing the feet, ask any Frederick Foot & Ankle employee to show you the Moisturizing Gel Socks, sold in the My New Feet store.
If the thickness of your calluses is no match for a pumice stone and you need professional help the podiatrists at Fredrick Foot & Ankle are a prime resource. As podiatrists, we are all trained to recommend the best foot products for you and can even skillfully remove any hard thickened skin from your feet and toes. With a little extra effort, your feet will thank you and you will be ready for sandal weather.
Flat feet have carried a stigma in the past, although many people have them without even realizing it. There are three types of stances that appear in feet, and these stances can change when standing: pes planus (flat foot), neutral, and pes cavus (high arches). Each foot type has its own type of care that can keep them from causing you any kind of pain, and even perfectly arched feet can benefit from preservative care.
Flat feet can be deceiving, because the arch of your foot changes when you are weight bearing. This means that even if your feet look like they have an arch when you’re sitting, the bones in your feet can collapse when you stand, causing the bones to rub against each other and the tendons in your foot to stretch quickly and more than necessary. This can lead to arthritis in the joints in your foot, tendonitis in your ankle, and/or plantar fasciitis in the bottom of your foot.
Alternately, high arched feet have are composed as a more rigid structure, with an angle higher than that of the neutral arch. This can be compensated for with custom inserts or padding, preventing pressure injuries on the ball or heel of your foot.
While high arched feet can cause issues, it is more likely that flat feet could be the root of foot pain, many of which you feel primarily in your heel or the arch of your foot. Without the proper supports, flat feet can even change the alignment of your hips and lower legs. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but rigid arch supports are the best for this foot type.
To test the rigidity of the orthotics, simply bend the orthotic at the arch using your hands. If the insert folds in half, especially if it is very easy for you to fold it, the arch is not rigid enough and you should look for another insert. While such a hard insert may seem counterintuitive, the soft inserts are of no use to provide support, leaving your foot to work overtime on its own. The overworking of the tendons and ligaments would be what is causing your foot pain in the first place.
We offer different types of supports in our office, ranging from braces that extend up the ankle to provide extra stability, to simple inserts that can be placed in the sole of the shoe, never to be seen when the shoes are on. Custom orthotics are covered by many insurances, and are made to match your foot using casting material or a digital scanner to notate the shape and depth of all areas of your foot. If your insurance does not cover custom orthotics, or if you are hesitant to try them, we also offer many different forms of semi-custom inserts, all of which feature a rigid arch support and will become shaped to your foot with recurrent wear. Make an appointment with our office today to have your foot evaluated to see if you would benefit from supports in your life.
Image courtesy of www.austria2017.org
The Special Olympics 2017 took place in Austria this year between March 14th and March 25th. The Games occur every two years, rather than every four years, and alternate between summer and winter sporting events. This year, the focus was on winter sports, encompassing over 4.7 million participants and 1 million volunteers and coaches performing in more than 30 winter sports. The Special Olympics have been taking place for 49 years and the participation numbers have only grown and expanded since they first premiered.
The games were founded under the vision of the Special Olympics, “to gain, with the positive attributes of sport, athletes, families and volunteers from all over the world for their idea.” The games not only attempt to spread the message of equality and participation, but also to strengthen human rights overall. Up until recent years, there has been an unnecessary stigma on the mentally and physically disabled, but the Special Olympics has changed the way the world views handicapped individuals.
The Special Olympics were not only developed to broaden the view of the world, but to introduce a new world to special individuals. The video on the Special Olympics website, titled “Speechless,” spoke to me on a very deep level. I have a nephew who is developmentally disabled, and I often worry about how he will adapt to the ever-changing social environment this modern-day world poses.
At home, we watch his mind flourish with his toys and games. Everyone who encounters him, whether in the park or at the grocery store, speaks so highly of his positive attitude and how he brightens their day. This video on the Special Olympics website addresses one young man’s former fears of embarrassment, which made him shy and anxious in school and other social settings. He says that, as he started playing golf and participating in the Special Olympics, he became more upbeat and outgoing. The young man gained a confidence which he had never thought would be possible for someone in his position. This is my wish for everyone who is handicapped and to the families of all those special individuals, who understand the many gifts given to their loved ones, and who fear the world may never see those gifts shine through.
The Special Olympics is geared toward families, too, allowing them to participate in tours and events with the participants, as well as providing seats to see their loved ones compete in person in the games. The hosts of the Special Olympics have partnered with hotels, tour companies, and car rental facilities to make it as easy as possible for the loved ones of participants to organize their trips to Austria for the games this year.
The participants, their families, and the millions of spectators viewing the games will now be able to enjoy the talents of these young people, who may never have had the courage to take the spotlight without the Special Olympics. To any possible participants reading these, Frederick Foot & Ankle wishes you the best of luck. Keep warm and keep moving!
Although our office is known to have a blast on St. Patrick’s Day, enjoying green-themed decorations to offset our standard scrubs, there are plenty of other celebration-worthy holidays in March that not many people know about. Of course, there is Daylight Savings Time, which pops up on March 12th, taking an hour away but giving us more sunshine day-to-day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of leaving for work in the dark and coming back home in the dark every day. I need some sun, even if it means getting up at a time that feels earlier.
We are also looking forward to celebrating Employee Appreciation Day with some of the best employees an office could ask for. Our staff always goes out of their way to make patients and co-workers alike feel happy and comfortable, and we want to thank them for their tireless dedication to our FFA Family. Last year, many of our employees bought each other lunch, brought in coffee, or offered their help on difficult tasks to show just how much they mean to one another. It was heartwarming to see!
Maryland Day closes out the month on March 25th, and we could not feel much more festive! This year we have partnered with the Frederick Running Festival to sponsor their 5K Run, which also means that our names will be on the participation metals. The run is one of Maryland’s most inclusive marathons, encompassing four different kinds of races: a two-person relay, Kids Fun Run, 5K, and a half-marathon. The event takes place May 6th & 7th this year, and boasts some excellent Maryland-themed swag, including a Maryland flag metal! Keep an eye out for the Frederick Running Festival sign ups; anyone can compete! You can even walk the 5K if that is easier for you. Either way, we hope to see you out there.
The month of March is Women’s Month, too, and as you may have read in our National Women Physician’s Day blog, we have several very impressive ladies that hold together our company. Not only are our doctors spectacular and very well versed in the medical field, we also have employees who have left us to attend podiatry school for 4 years, and employees who have just begun their journey, working at our office for internships to meet school requirements. No matter what walk of life, all our female employees have something unique and wonderful to offer, and we are so thankful for them. Whatever you decide to celebrate this month, Frederick Foot & Ankle is here to keep you moving!
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