New Year’s Resolution for Healthy Feet

If taking better care of your health is one of your New Year’s resolutions, start from the bottom up. We often don’t think of our foot health until there’s a problem with our feet. This year, promise yourself you’ll take better care of your entire body. Here are a few simple healthy foot habits to stick to in the new year.

Healthy Feet Resolution #1: Walk More

Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise; it doesn’t require any special equipment, it can be done in almost any weather, and it’s good for your overall health – including your feet. Even in small 15-20 minute doses, walking will help keep your feet and your body in shape.

Healthy Feet Resolution #2: Shed a Few Pounds

If this isn’t already on your New Year’s resolution list, here’s one reason you should consider adding it. Less weight means less stress on feet, which is especially important if you play sports or work on your feet all day. If you’re already at a healthy weight, keep up the good work! Your feet are one step closer to staying healthy in 2015.

Healthy Feet Resolution #3: Have Regular Check-ups

Your feet help you get around even more than your car does, so you should definitely be taking them in for regular check-ups. Regular visits to the podiatrist will let you know if there’s anything you should be paying closer attention to. If you already have a foot condition or other condition that affects your feet (e.g., diabetes), skipping foot check-ups is bad for your health.

Healthy Feet Resolution #4: Eat for Your Feet

What goes in your mouth affects your body – even all the way down to your feet. In general, you should avoid or cut back on foods that cause inflammation in the body. If you have gout, maintaining a healthy eating plan can reduce your symptoms. Once you know which foods to avoid, you can find healthy alternatives that won’t trigger your symptoms.

Healthy Feet Resolution #5: Shape Up Your Shoes

When it comes to improving foot health, 2 quick-fix recommendations for improving your shoe collection are:

Ditch the super high heels and flip-flops. Both of these types of shoes can be hazardous to your foot health. High heels force the foot into an unnatural position, and can damage the foot’s structure, resulting in corns, calluses, and bunions. Flip-flops offer no support for the foot, and the open design leaves your foot more susceptible to injury and infections, like athlete’s foot.
Replace old athletic shoes. Over time, even the best athletic shoe loses its ability to adequately support your feet when you’re engaging in your favorite activity. If you continue wearing them, you could end up throwing off the alignment of your foot. Worn-out shoes also put you at greater risk for sports-related injuries. In the long run, the potential cost of wearing old athletic shoes is much greater than the cost to replace them every 300-500 miles of use.

The path to achieving your New Year’s resolutions awaits you, don’t forget to make sure your feet can take you there. Now’s the perfect time to schedule your New Year’s appointment.

Original Source: http://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/best-foot-forward-new-years-resolutions-healthy-feet/

Winter Foot Care Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy

Whether you’re slogging through deep snow and sub-zero temperatures in the north, or contending with dampness, chill, and muddy conditions in the south, it’s important to take care of your feet all winter long. You’ll want them to be healthy and ready for action when spring finally arrives.
Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50. Is it little wonder, then, that APMA’s 2010 foot health survey found that foot pain affects the daily activities—walking, exercising, or standing for long periods of time—of a majority of Americans?

“Each season presents unique challenges to foot health,” said Matthew Garoufalis, DPM, a podiatrist and APMA president. “Surveys and research tell us that foot health is intrinsic to overall health, so protecting feet all year long is vital to our overall well-being.”

APMA offers some advice for keeping feet healthy in common winter scenarios:

Winter is skiing and snowboarding season, activities enjoyed by nearly 10 million Americans, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Never ski or snowboard in footwear other than ski boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure your boots fit properly; you should be able to wiggle your toes, but the boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (support devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.

Committed runners don’t need to let the cold stop them. A variety of warm, light-weight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. However, some runners may compensate for icy conditions by altering how their foot strikes the ground. Instead of changing your footstrike pattern, shorten your stride to help maintain stability. And remember, it’s more important than ever to stretch before you begin your run. Cold weather can make you less flexible in winter than you are in summer, so it’s important to warm muscles up before running.

Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with winter precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots themselves and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp, sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more prone to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot care regimen this winter.

Be size smart. It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for kids in a slightly larger size, thinking they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. But unlike coats that kids can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together, and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.

Finally—and although this one seems like it should go without saying, it bears spelling out—don’t try to tip-toe through winter snow, ice, and temperatures in summer-appropriate footwear. “More than one news show across the country aired images of people in sneakers, sandals, and even flip-flops during the severe cold snap that hit the country in early January,” Dr. Garoufalis said. “Exposing feet to extreme temperatures means risking frostbite and injury. Choose winter footwear that will keep your feet warm, dry, and well-supported.”

Source: APMA

Why Wound Care for Diabetes Patients is So Important

For the 26 million Americas affected by diabetes, and the 1.9 million diagnosed annually, approximately 15 percent of those will develop foot ulcers during their lifetime, a complication that may result in amputation without timely and proper care (66,000 diabetes-related amputations are performed annually).

But when it comes to wound care, especially foot ulcers, many in Contra Costa County, California managing the disease may not realize that there is dedicated center offering help.

“Denial and fear are the major factors as to why those affected hesitate to get the attention they need. Wound Care Services needs to be sought out earlier in their care when we can be of most help,”said Mandy Mori, Director of Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Services with John Muir Health. “Many cannot distinguish how far their wounds have progressed until it is too late.”

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas makes the hormone insulin to help glucose be absorbed into cells.

When a person has diabetes, their body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in the blood.

Tips for wound care: when should treatment for a wound be sought?

Over time, diabetes can cause a lack of sensitivity in the feet. That loss of sensation can lead to cuts and sores going undetected. Diabetes can also diminish blood flow, preventing any foot wounds from properly healing. Taking care of your feet every day will lower the risk of amputation.

Seek out treatment at a wound care center when:

· You have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days (commonly experienced by people with diabetes).

· You have a sore with increasing pain, redness or swelling, foul odor, or a change in color.

· You have a surgical wound that has become infected

One way wounds can be cared for is with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a type of medical treatment that works by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, stimulating blood flow. It is often used in conjunction with additional therapies to facilitate healing. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a patient breathes 100% oxygen inside a special chamber.

At the same time, the pressure surrounding the body is slowly increased to two to three times normal atmospheric pressure.

At John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, hyperbaric oxygen treatments are provided in one-person chambers, allowing for comfortable, private treatment.

Each chamber is constructed using clear plastic material, so a patient can visit with family or friends or even watch TV during treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has many therapeutic benefits, including:

· Greatly increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues

· Shortens the healing time of stubborn wounds

· Stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in areas of reduced circulation

· Enhances white blood cells’ efficiency in killing bacteria and controlling infections

· Preserves skin grafts, flaps, and other tissues where circulation is suddenly reduced

· Reduces swelling (edema)

If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the aforementioned issues relating to diabetes, please contact our staff at We Treat Feet Podiatry (410-363-4343 or info@wetreatfeet.com) as starting treatment early is the key to a full recovery.

Interesting Article on How DPMs are Helping to Rebuild in Haiti

Cool article about how DPMs are helping to rebuild in Haiti, from the blog of Patrick DeHeer DPM written by Fairuz Parvez DPM:

When asked about my experience in Haiti, at first I did not know where to begin. If I were to sum it up in a word, it would be: shocking.

It was eye opening to say the least. I was at a loss for words when I first landed in Haiti. I knew there was some structural destruction but I did not truly understand at what level, the depth of the devastation, and why it was still so. I was as guilty as the next American assuming Haiti was not so bad off. Boy, did I get a crash course in the reality of things there.

The first thing that shook me to my core was just how impoverished the country really was. I have visited developing nations in the past and even there you can find modernized areas with better conditions and buildings that are comparable to those of the west. With Haiti, almost the entire country looks like the ghetto of a developing nation. High rises are almost nonexistent and modern buildings are truly in the minority. Most buildings are primarily plaster or poorly constructed one-floor concrete-ish structures. Then you have the tent cities and makeshift shacks that line the sides of the road.

Yes, I know, I know. You are probably thinking the same thing I was. “Well, what about those innumerable fundraising efforts for millions of dollars by members of Hollywood and various philanthropists? It has been five years since the earthquake. What’s been going on since then?”
The issues with Haiti are more complicated and deeper than just some physical damage to some buildings from the earthquake. If it were that simple, Haiti would have been “fixed” by now. Haiti has been in dire shape since long before the earthquake. If anything, the earthquake was sort of almost a service to the country. It forced the world to pay attention to a country that is so desperately impoverished and functionally broken at the most basic, fundamental levels. The country needs far more than a few well-meaning philanthropists throwing some money at it. That will not solve any problem. The country needs help to establish foundations and basic infrastructure in every field from healthcare to finance to education to agriculture and even to tourism. Without the right kind of help, Haiti will only fall deeper into despair.

As Dr. DeHeer so astutely put, “Haiti is devastatingly endearing.” It truly is. You see people in absolute, abject poverty along the streets in Haiti. Yet there they are, trying to carve out a meager existence, selling their wares. Somehow, they still push forward. Yes, invariably, with international efforts, a culture of dependency has also developed. Nonetheless, this has not completely taken over the psyche of the Haitians. There is great enthusiasm among them when they are afforded an opportunity to learn something new. However, things are still in a fragile state. After my week in Haiti, it us clear that our support is necessary more than ever.

Sure, coming to Haiti and doing a handful or even a large number of surgeries on a mission visit is satisfying, but useless nonetheless. I have always planned to do mission work, knowing it would be part of my practice in the future in some way. But after my visit to Haiti, my entire perspective shifted. Most of my concerns and thoughts seem so insignificant now. I realize I can’t just go to an impoverished country and provide treatment/perform surgeries, and expect to think it made some sort of difference. It is simply not enough.

That old adage “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” rings true here. This is the only thing that will truly make a difference in Haiti. We really need give our Haitian colleagues the proper tools (be it medical equipment or medical training) so they can help themselves. Only then can they truly recover and grow.

Now before I give the impression that my trip to Haiti was a bust, let me clarify. It was a great success. The best part of my trip to Haiti was discovering that the organization, Step by Step Haiti, is doing all that and more. It was truly wonderful working alongside our Haitian colleagues. They took our direction and instructions so enthusiastically. They were exceptionally eager to learn what we had to offer. They asked insightful questions and truly try to apply their newfound knowledge to help their fellow citizens. There are real efforts now happening in the communities to educate and reach the average Haitian citizen. They see there is a chance and it is encouraging. It was quite enriching and exciting seeing our colleagues not only treat patients, but be able to demonstrate that they are actively sowing the seeds for preventative care in limb salvage as well.

There is still a long way to go but progress is surely happening. Once these clinics are fully established around the country with appropriate tools and protocols, we hope to establish a Haitian medical residency as a tradition for coming generations.

I am proud to say I have been consumed by my trip to Haiti. I am just getting started and am anxious to do more. All in all, my first trip to Haiti has been truly satisfying. With all of the wreckage I found, I also saw a silver lining. It is with this silver lining that hope springs eternal in the human breast. Hope for a better future for our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Source: Podiatry Today

No Surprise: High Heels Culprit of Most Women’s Foot Issues

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) today announced the results of its Today’s Podiatrist survey, which measures the public’s attitudes toward foot health. The study, which surveyed 1,000 US adults ages 18 and older, revealed that nearly half of all women (49 percent) wear high heels, even though the majority of heel wearers (71 percent) complain these shoes hurt their feet.

These findings seem to fit the old adage that “beauty is pain.” Even chronic discomfort doesn’t appear to deter women from purchasing the strappy stilettos they love: The average woman who owns high heels has nine pairs! Asked what they do when shoes hurt their feet, 38 percent of women said they’d “wear them anyway if I like them.”

However, in spite of their extensive shoe collections, only two percent of women say they wear high heels every day, and just five percent say they wear high heels five days per week. Almost half say they wear heels rarely or never (46 percent)—which may give them a leg up when it comes to preventing permanent damage to their feet.

“With high heels, moderation is key. It’s best not to wear them every day,” said Matthew G. Garoufalis, DPM, past president of APMA. “Daily heel-wearing can cause the Achilles tendon, the strong tendon at the back of your ankle, to shrink. This increases your risk of an injury while doing activities in flat shoes, including exercise.”

Heel height also plays an important role in preventing foot pain. Almost half of women say they can withstand wearing heels that are three inches or higher, though podiatrists recommend staying more grounded.

“Heel wearers should avoid heels higher than two inches,” said Dr. Garoufalis. “Wearing heels three inches or higher shifts body weight forward, and puts great pressure on the ball of the foot and the toes.”

While high heels were far and away the biggest culprits of foot pain, affecting 71 percent of wearers, women said other types of footwear including barefoot running shoes (27 percent), boots (26 percent), flats (23 percent), and flip flops (23 percent) also caused discomfort.

“Foot pain is never normal, and it’s critical that anyone experiencing chronic pain—from footwear or otherwise—seeks care from an expert,” said Dr. Garoufalis. “We hope these findings encourage Americans to fight foot pain with the help of today’s podiatrist.”

For detailed survey findings and an infographic on high heel pain, visit the APMA website.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the nation’s leading professional organization for today’s podiatrists. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are qualified by their education, training, and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and structures of the leg. APMA has 53 state component locations across the United States and its territories, with a membership of more than 12,000 podiatrists. All practicing APMA members are licensed by the state in which they practice podiatric medicine. For more information, visit www.apma.org.

APHA ‘Get Ready Day’ Helps Americans Prep for Emergencies

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is creating awareness through their Get Ready Day campaign, which will be held on September 16, 2014. The campaign helps Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards, including the flu, infectious disease, natural disasters and other emergencies.

It’s certainly a good reminder to be aware of potentially dangerous situations and how they are safely handled. Here is a list of how to prepare for pretty much any emergency situation you can think of.

This is also probably the cutest video you’ll ever see about emergency situations…Get Ready Video

REPORT: Office Visits by Patients With Diabetes Rising Rapidly in United States

Office visits in the United States for diabetes rose 20% from 2005 to 2010, with the largest increase in adults in their mid-20s to mid-40s, according to a new data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Nearly 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, putting them at risk for other chronic conditions, such as heart disease, eye disease, and stroke, Jill J. Ashman, PhD, and colleagues from the NCHS note in the brief.

On an annual basis, the cost of diabetes in the United States approaches $245 billion, and patients with diabetes have medical expenditures 2.3 times those of patients without diabetes.

The researchers analyzed recent trends in office visits by patients with diabetes using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a nationally representative survey of visits to nonfederal office-based physicians (excluding anesthesiologists, radiologists, and pathologists).

They found that office-based physician visits by patients with diabetes rose from 94.4 million in 2005 to 113.3 million in 2010 (a 20% increase). Visits by patients with diabetes made up about 11% of all office-based physician visits in 2010.

The number of office visits increased during the study period for all age groups except for those younger than 25 years. The largest percentage increase (34%) occurred in people in the 25- to 44-year age range.

However, the volume of visits was higher for older adults; individuals aged 65 and older made 53.7 million visits in 2010 compared with 2.6 million visits made by those younger than 25.

The researchers did not see any marked change in the rate of office visits by patients with diabetes in any age group during the study period. The highest rate in 2010 was among those aged 65 and older (1380 visits per 1000 persons) and lowest in those younger than 25 (20 visits per 1000).

“Diabetes is not the only health concern for the majority of patients who have it, with 87% of visits being made by patients who have additional chronic conditions,” Dr. Ashman and colleagues say.

Regardless of age, they found that patients with diabetes use “extensive health resources,” making frequent trips to the doctor and often receiving multiple prescriptions.

One of the federal Healthy People 2020 goals is to reduce the disease and economic burden of diabetes. “Continuing to examine office-based physician visits by patients with diabetes is especially important given changes in standards of care that may influence such visits,” Dr. Ashman and colleagues say.

Source: Medscape

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