Holiday Foot Care

It is well into the holiday season, and the last thing on your mind is probably your feet. Well, all of that Christmas shopping, holiday work parties, and cooking for your family and friends adds up and is a lot of time on your feet—probably in high heels and dress shoes, too. Here are some tips for saving your feet during this festive time.

  1. Don’t forget to moisturize your feet. Did you know common foot ailments like calluses and corns form when skin is cracked, dry, and irritated? Simply lathering up your feet in the morning will help them stay moisturized throughout the day.
  2. Exercise. Stretch your feet (especially the arches) by raising your toes, flexing them, and pointing them toward the ceiling. Stretching your arch will keep your ligaments loose and help prevent heel pain.
  3. Get a foot massage. Not only is a foot massage a great gift for you, but it’s a treat for a friend or relative as well. Foot massages can release a lot of stress, and we all experience some extra stress during the holidays.
  4. Take precautions during pedicures to avoid contracting nail fungus. Whether you are giving yourself a pedicure or going to a salon, make sure that the correct utensils are being used. Instead of using a razor to cut dead skin, try a pumice stone instead. Most important, we suggest bringing your own nail polishes to a salon. Why? Well, think of all the different toes their polishes go on—some of them have bacteria that cause nail fungus and Athlete’s foot. We recommend using Dr.’s Remedy Enriched Nail Care polishes, as these are specially-formulated by podiatrists, are available in more than 30 colors, and are enriched with biotin, tea-tree oil, garlic bulb extract, lavender, wheat protein and vitamins C and E. They make great gifts too!
  5. Raise your legs. You need to keep the blood circulating in your legs and feet, especially while working late hours and traveling more. If you are on a long trip to grandma’s house, be sure to get up and move around. Raising your feet will reduce the swelling caused by being in the same position for too long.
  6. Wear the right shoes. Yes, we know you will wear high heels and swanky loafers to your holiday parties. But while you’re shopping, cooking, and cleaning, try to wear something sensible. Make sure your shoes have the correct arch support and good padding on the soles and that they aren’t tight on your feet.

When you follow these steps during the colder winter months and holiday season, your feet should be in tip-top shape for spring time! If you start to notice any pain in or unsightliness on your toes or feet, make an appointment to see a podiatrist ASAP. Most foot ailments can be treated completely if caught at the onset.

And from all of us at Modern Foot & Ankle, happy holidays!

Custom-Molded Orthotics vs. Dr. Scholl’s “Custom” Inserts

We have all walked into our local convenience store or near a pharmacy and seen the kiosk for Dr. Scholl’s “custom” inserts, advertising precise foot-support selection via 2,000 pressure sensors and a “FootMapping” evaluation. Whad’ya know—it’s the answer to all of your foot problems!

Sound too good to be true? Well—surprise, surprise—it is.

And it’s time to call a spade a spade. Dr. Scholl’s manufactures non-prescription, pre-packaged arch supports that aren’t the least bit tailored to the shape and needs of your specific foot. Unless a device is prescribed and crafted by a doctor just for you, it is a standard shoe insert, not a custom-fitted orthotic device. While shoe inserts can provide some comfort, cushioning, and support for the arches, they cannot correct biomechanical foot problems or cure long-standing (get it?) foot issues.

Every individual’s feet are unique to them and them only; even the left and right feet are different from each other. This is why having a doctor prescribe and mold custom orthotics is the only way to correct chronic problems. Custom-orthotic castings are performed in an office of a specialist and are done by using either plaster or digital capture to match the contours of your feet and accommodate the way you move.

Podiatrists use custom-molded orthotics to treat plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, diabetic foot ulcers, and foot, ankle, and heel pain, as they can decrease pain and improve function. Because they are designed specifically for your feet, custom orthotics are pricey—but they are worth it. They’re made of high-quality material, so, when cared for properly, orthotics can last for 5-7 years.

When something sounds too good to be true and claims an off-the-shelf insert can relieve your plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, diabetic foot ulcers and other foot pains, it is wiser to see a medically-trained professional and get fitted for custom-molded orthotics instead.

Diabetes and Ulcers: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You

Do you or a loved one suffer from diabetes? If so, it’s important that you follow the following tips to prevent an ulcer (i.e., an open wound or sore) from developing.

  1. Inspect feet every day.
  2. Bathe feet gently in lukewarm water.
  3. Moisturize feet but not toes.
  4. Cut nails carefully. (See a podiatrist if you cannot perform correctly.)
  5. Never treat calluses or corns yourself. (That is why there are specialists!)
  6. Always wear clean, dry socks. (Consider socks made specially for diabetics.)
  7. Wear socks to bed if feet get cold, never use a heating pad.
  8. Shake out shoes and feel inside for foreign object before putting shoes on.
  9. Keep feet warm and dry.
  10. Never walk barefoot.
  11. Take care of the diabetes. (Keep blood sugar levels under control.)
  12. Do not smoke.
  13. Get periodic foot exams from a podiatrist.

Diabetes is the leading cause of nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations in the United States, and approximately 14-24% of patients with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation. In fact, foot ulcers precede 85% of diabetes-related amputations.

Keep in mind, diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in feet. It may also decrease blood circulation, making it more difficult to heal a wound or resist infection. Because of these problems, a foreign object in a shoe may go unnoticed and a blister or a sore may develop, possibly leading to an infection or ulcer—however, with diligent care and action, diabetics can reduce the chances of getting an ulcer and avoid a possible amputation.

Remember to execute the above steps regularly for adequate preventative care and visit a podiatrist to monitor your condition; doing so can significantly reduce the chances of lower-extremity amputation and limb loss.