Celebrate Foot Health Awareness Month With a Brisk Walk

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A walk in the fresh April air is an ideal way to participate in Foot Health Awareness Month.
“Walking is …

Enjoy Pregnancy Without Foot Pain

<b>Enjoy Pregnancy Without Foot Pain</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Pregnant women often complain about aching feet — and for good reason. Weight gain, swelling and foot instability increase during pregnancy, causing soreness. Modern women also stay active longer into their pregnancies, putting more strain on their feet.

“In the last five years, I’ve seen an increase in pregnant women with foot pain because more women than ever before are active, even running marathons, during their pregnancies,” says Marybeth Crane, DPM, FACFAS, a Dallas-area foot and ankle surgeon.

But according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), no woman has to endure sore feet during pregnancy — the pain can be treated. ACFAS offers the following guidelines for alleviating foot problems related to pregnancy:

* Painful, Swollen Feet. Pregnant women often experience throbbing, swollen feet due to excess fluid, or edema, in the feet, caused by the weight and position of the baby. To reduce swelling, put your feet up whenever possible, stretch your legs frequently, wear wide, comfortable shoes and don’t cross your legs when sitting.

* Arch Pain. Fatigue can cause arch pain, as can a condition called “arch fatigue” or “over pronation,” in which the arch flattens. Over pronation happens when the ligament that holds up the arch of the foot faces extreme stress. To prevent arch pain, stretch daily every morning and before and after exercise, don’t go barefoot and wear supportive low-heeled shoes.

* Foot Cramps. Pregnancy increases blood volume and progesterone levels, which often result in cramping. Increasing circulation to your feet will help — try rotating your ankles and elevating your feet while sitting. If cramps persist, try a walk around the block. Stretch your calf muscles daily.

* Ingrown Toenails. As your feet swell, your shoes get tighter -; and tight shoes can cause painful ingrown toenails. Wear wider shoes during your last trimester to avoid ingrown toenails. If you do experience an ingrown toenail, seek treatment with a foot and ankle surgeon. Trying to fix it yourself can make the problem worse.

You might need to buy new shoes even after the baby is born. “A permanent growth in a woman’s foot, up to half a size, can occur from the release of the same hormone, relaxin, that allows the pelvis to open to deliver the baby.” says Dr. Crane. “It makes the ligaments in your feet more flexible, causing feet to spread wider and longer.”

If foot pain persists, visit a foot and ankle surgeon to discuss treatment options. For more information on foot and ankle problems, visit www.FootHealthFacts.org.

Heel Pain in Young Athletes: A Warning Sign

<b>Heel Pain in Young Athletes: A Warning Sign</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Indoors and outdoors, youth athletes stay active year-round in competitive sports. And for many of them, heel pain has become “just another part of the game.” The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons advises that, when a child complains of heel pain, it should be diagnosed promptly, because it may be a warning sign of a serious foot problem.

Dr. Karl Collins, DPM, FACFAS, a St. Louis-area foot and ankle surgeon, says heel pain occurs frequently in children ages 6 to 14 as their feet grow and the heel bone develops. “As children become more active in sports, they increase their risk for growth plate injuries and subsequent heel pain,” says Collins. This is especially true during the school year, when surgeons see an increase in middle- and high-school athletes experiencing heel pain from sports.

“New bone forms in an area behind the heel, known as the growth plate, and cartilage is vulnerable to severe inflammation from strain or stress. With repeated stresses and strains from overactivity, the heel becomes very painful,” Collins explains.

Even though growth plate trauma is the leading cause of heel pain in young people, Collins says the condition can be difficult to diagnose. He cautions that parents should be concerned if a child has pain in the back or bottom of the heel, limps, walks on the toes, or seems to have difficulty participating in normal recreational activities. To diagnose the condition, foot and ankle surgeons examine the child’s foot and leg, and often take imaging tests to rule out other serious causes of heel pain, such as bursitis, tendonitis and fractures.

In most cases, mild or moderate heel pain can be treated successfully with shoe inserts to soften the impact on the heel, anti-inflammatory medications, stretching and physical therapy. In severe cases, the foot and ankle will be immobilized in a cast. In some instances, surgery may be necessary.

Heel pain in young people often returns after treatment, because the growth plate is still forming until the age of 14 or 15. However, the risk for recurrence can be lowered by choosing well-constructed shoes with good support and restricting use of spiked athletic shoes, especially on hard fields. It also is advised that young athletes avoid competition that exceeds their physical abilities.

For more information on heel pain in children, or to find a foot and ankle surgeon near you, visit FootPhysicians.com.

How to Prevent a Common Childhood Foot Problem

<b>How to Prevent a Common Childhood Foot Problem</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Parents can prevent one of the most common childhood foot problems by following some simple recommendations.

Foot and ankle surgeons say ingrown toenails are a condition they treat frequently in children. Surgeons say many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. The problem is that ingrown toenails often break the skin. That allows bacteria to enter and cause an infection.

Tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect toenail trimming cause most pediatric ingrown toenails, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). In other cases, children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve.

FootPhysicians.com provides parents these recommendations:

– Make sure children’s shoes fit. Shoe width is more important than length. Make sure that the widest part of the shoe matches the widest part of your child’s foot.

– Teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line. Don’t cut them too short.

– Never try to dig out an ingrown toenail or cut it off. These dangerous “bathroom surgeries” carry a high risk for infection.

– Have a qualified doctor treat a child’s ingrown toenail. A minor surgical procedure can eliminate the pain and often prevent the condition from coming back.

A foot and ankle surgeon may prescribe antibiotics if there’s an infection.

One thing parents can do to reduce their child’s pain is to soak the affected foot in room-temperature water. Then gently massage the side of the nail fold.

For more information on ingrown toenails in children, visit FootPhysicians.com.

Footcare Helps Keep Elderly Mobile

<b>Footcare Helps Keep Elderly Mobile</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many people assume that it is a normal part of the aging process, but no one should resign themselves to foot pain.

According to the The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), some foot problems are hereditary, but many others result from cumulative neglect and abuse. Gaining weight can affect bone and ligament structure. In fact, women suffer four times more foot problems than men, and a lifetime of wearing high heels can leave a painful legacy.

Normal wear and tear alters foot structure. With age and use, feet spread and lose cushioning. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, one-sixth of nursing home patients need assistance to walk, while another one-fourth cannot walk. Seeking professional treatment for foot pain can help senior citizens enjoy a higher quality of life, not to mention increased mobility and independence.

“Foot pain can limit a senior citizen’s ability to participate in social activities or work,” said Dr. Ross Taubman, president of the APMA. “Even worse, foot problems can lead to debilitating knee, hip and lower back pain.”

Podiatric physicians serve in foot clinics, nursing homes and hospitals across the country, where they help keep older patients on their feet. The APMA offers these tips to older Americans hoping to walk pain-free:

– Remeasure your feet every time you buy new shoes. Feet expand with age, so you can’t assume that your shoe size will remain constant. Shop for shoes in the afternoon -; feet swell through the day.

– Keep walking. Feet strengthen with exercise, and walking is the best exercise for your feet.

– Choose your legwear carefully. Don’t wear stockings with seams. Never wear constricting garters or tie your stockings in knots.

– Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water. Use a mild soap that contains moisturizers. After washing your feet, pat them dry and massage them with lotion. Inspect your feet for redness, swelling and cracks or sores, which require a doctor’s attention. Do not cut off corns, and only trim nails straight across.

– See a podiatrist at least once a year. For more information, visit APMA’s Web site at www.apma.org.

New Options for Boomers With Foot and Ankle Arthritis

<b>New Options for Boomers With Foot and Ankle Arthritis</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As they approach retirement, many members of the “Me Generation” aren’t ready to slow down, even if their bodies are. Foot and ankle surgeons say baby boomers are more likely than previous generations to seek care when arthritis develops in their toes, feet and ankles.

“Unlike their parents, baby boomers do not accept foot pain as a natural part of aging,” says John Giurini, DPM, a Boston foot and ankle surgeon and president of the 6,000-member American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). “When conservative treatments fail, they want to know what other options exist.”

After they’re diagnosed, many boomers hold high expectations for treatment. They may look forward to playing sports or to running again. While there is no fountain of youth for a degenerative condition like arthritis, there are more medical options available than ever before.

The big toe joint is the most common part of the foot to develop osteoarthritis, according to FootPhysicians.com. For boomers with early-stage arthritis in this joint, modern surgical procedures may provide more pain relief and increased joint movement.

Boomers with advanced and severe arthritis may need to have the joint fused or replaced. Now, stronger screws and hardware are helping fusions last longer, while slashing recovery times. A new generation of big toe joint replacements also shows promise.

Ankles are another prime spot for arthritis. Innovative surgical techniques allow foot and ankle surgeons to transplant small plugs of cartilage from one part of the ankle to another in some patients, slowing joint deterioration.

Ankle replacements, however, are not as durable as hip and knee replacements. The ankle is a more challenging joint to replace. It’s smaller and moves in multiple

directions. But better and promising ankle implants are hitting the market.

For more information on osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle, visit the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootPhysicians.com.

Pre-Nup Pointers For Your Feet

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As a bride prepares for her wedding day, there is a long list of things to do. Book the reception hall. Order the wedding cake. Find the perfect dress. And … take care of her feet.

Many brides will wear shoes that can wreak havoc on their feet. So it’s especially important to pamper them before the big day. Here are some tips from the American Podiatric Medical Association on making your wedding a little easier on the feet:

* Pre-nuptial pampering prep: Fill a bucket with warm water and be sure it is large enough for both of your feet to soak. Remove nail polish with non-acetone polish remover. Stimulate foot circulation and warm up your feet by propping one foot at a time on your lap, grasp the foot and begin slowly moving your thumbs from the top of your toes to the bottom of your heel and back. Use a nail clipper to cut toenails straight across. Then, use an emery board to smooth the nail edges.

* Soothing the soles: After soaking, use a pumice stone or non-metal foot file to gently smooth the skin around the heel and the balls and sides of your feet. (For extra soothing and softening, use a scrub and massage your entire foot and lower leg.) Use a fresh towel to pat feet dry and be sure to dry between each toe. Massage a healthy amount of emollient-enriched skin lotion all over your feet to hydrate the skin and increase circulation.

* Finishing toe touches: Remove the moisturizer from your toenails and in between your toes by using soap and water. Apply polish only if you have healthy nails. While it may make your toes look pretty, nail polish locks out moisture and doesn’t allow the nail or nail bed to “breathe.”

On the eve of your wedding day, lightly wrap cellophane around each foot. The cellophane will act as a makeshift sauna by locking in moisture. By morning, your feet will feel soothingly soft.

People with diabetes should always consult a podiatrist before beginning any foot care regimen. For more tips from the APMA, visit www.apma.org.

Going Toe-to-Toe With Foot Pain

<b>Going Toe-to-Toe With Foot Pain</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – If it’s getting harder to put one foot in front of the other, chances are you’re not alone.

In fact, podiatrists say that millions of Americans experience some kind of foot trouble on a regular basis. These problems can range from foot odor to ingrown toenails to various types of pain.

Foot ailments are among the most common health problems affecting the American population. However, many don’t seek medical treatment because they mistakenly believe that discomfort and pain are normal and expectable – especially with age.

A recent survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association of 1,695 adults ages 18 to 60 found that 47 percent had experienced a foot ailment in their lifetime. Although the prevalence of foot ailments was high, only about 7 percent had visited a podiatrist. About 16 percent treated their condition with over-the-counter products.

Men experienced slightly more cases of tendonitis, skin cancer and nail problems, while women suffered more general types of foot pain, including pain in the balls of the feet, heel pain and pain from shoes or orthotics, the survey found. More women than men had bunions: 3.31 percent versus 1.57 percent, respectively.

More than 11 percent of those surveyed said they did nothing to treat their conditions and instead lived with the pain.

Nearly 19 percent of the respondents admitted that foot pain inhibited them from performing daily activities such as going to work or the gym. Among the older people surveyed, that number increased to nearly 29 percent.

Although some foot ailments can be traced to heredity, many stem from the cumulative impact of a lifetime of abuse and neglect. And because of the amount of mileage we put on our feet, podiatrists say the feet are more susceptible to injury than any part of the body.

For more information about foot care and managing foot pain, visit www.apma.org.

How to Treat Your Feet When Traveling

<b>How to Treat Your Feet When Traveling</b> (NU) – They say getting there is half the fun. But if you anticipate long hours on the road, on the tracks or in the air, getting there can be the worst part of your trip.

Chalk it up to tight transportation quarters or cramped positions. In fact, inactivity and sitting in one position for prolonged periods, as many people do while traveling, can stiffen muscles and hinder circulation. This inactivity can also cause health problems such as swelling of the feet and blood clots in the legs.

Finding relief and relaxation during your journey – and at your destination – can be as simple as knowing how to treat your feet. Moving and stretching your feet and legs and wearing proper footwear can help keep your circulation in check.

Give your feet – and yourself – a little tender loving care with these simple travel tips from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

* Work out right in your seat. Sprinting through the aisle may be out of the question, but physical activity is possible without irking other passengers, thanks to simple foot exercises.

Rotate each foot several times clockwise and counterclockwise, then repeat. Flex your toes up and down, working your calves. If room permits, try raising each knee, holding it there for a few seconds and tensing your thigh muscle. Or, simply wiggle your toes.

* Stay mobile. On a plane, when the pilot invites you to move about the cabin, take him up on it. Experts recommend stretching your legs and walking around at least once an hour. Request an aisle seat, if possible, to facilitate movement.

* Wear comfortable footwear. While traveling, loosen your shoelaces or take off your shoes. To keep swollen feet at bay during long flights, try wearing supportive elastic stockings. Pack supportive shoes and socks, especially if your vacation calls for plenty of sightseeing on foot.

If a special evening calls for high heels, wear heels no higher than 1.5 inches. Heed podiatrists’ rule of thumb: the wider the heel, the more support. For men, a pair of quality oxfords offers comfort during a night of dancing.

What should you do with new shoes that haven’t been broken in? It’s best to leave them at home.

* Cool your heels. Pack a spa kit for your feet, complete with foot lotion for a soothing massage, a foot brush and pedicure materials for use after a full day of walking around.

For more information on foot care, visit www.apma.org.