Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Swelling Of The Feet During Travel

Swelling of the feet is common during air travel. While sitting on a plane for hours, blood tends to pool in the feet and legs. Sitting puts pressure on the veins of the legs which inhibits their ability to effectively get all the blood back to the heart. This causes more blood than usual to remain in those veins instead of swiftly returning to the heart. Sitting for long periods of time can also cause some fluid to leave the blood and enter the surrounding tissue.

While swelling is usually harmless, it can be a sign of a blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis). Normal swelling should subside after several hours of regular activity. If the swelling does not go down after normal activity has resumed, medical attention should be sought immediately to rule out a deep vein thrombosis. If legs are painful or if swelling is only occurring in one leg, the person should go to the emergency room or call emergency services immediately as these are signs that the swelling is not normal and may indicate a deep vein thrombosis.

The best way to prevent swelling and reduce the risk for deep vein thrombosis is to get up and walk around the plane every hour. IF travelling by car, stop and take frequent breaks to stretch the legs and walk. Walking causes the veins to constrict which forces the blood back to the heart.

Elevating the legs and feet can help prevent swelling. If you are unable to elevate your legs, rotating your ankles while sitting my help prevent swelling. Stretching out the calves can help. Calf stretches should be done every half hour. Avoid wearing restrictive clothing when traveling. Water should be consumed, especially during flights or in warm weather. Dehydration can be a contributing factor to deep vein thrombosis. Thus, it is also beneficial to avoid alcohol consumption.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Going Barefooted Or Wearing Flip Flops

People mistakenly believe that wearing flip flops or going barefooted are healthy alternatives to wearing shoes. This could be because of all the hype about the dangers of wearing high heels. With the summer months upon us, many people opt to wear flip flops or go barefooted under the assumption that they are doing their feet a favor.

While wearing high heels can be problematic, so can going barefooted or wearing flip flops. Flip flops offer none of the necessary support that proper footwear does. This lack of support can contribute to plantar fascia or sprains. The lack of support leaves the foot susceptible to injuries involving the tendons, such as tendonitis. This is because the muscles and tendons of the foot have to compensate for the lack of support and receive none of the shock absorption that is a function of proper footwear.

Going barefooted leaves feet vulnerable to puncture wounds, scrapes, or cuts. Puncture wounds are especially problematic for the feet. A common injury during the summer months, puncture wounds can lead to infection or painful scarring. If someone does get a puncture wound, it is important for them to seek medical attention to ensure that the wound is properly cleaned and free of debris.

People are not wrong for wanting to avoid high heels or limit their use for special occasions. High heels commonly contribute to the development of foot problems. For people concerned about foot health, the best footwear is an athletic shoe with proper support.

Any shoes worn should have a toe box that is wide. A narrow toe box puts undue pressure on the toes and can lead to problems such as bunions and hammertoes. Neither the toe box nor any part of the shoe should cause friction against the foot. Friction can lead to calluses, corns, or blisters.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rheumatoid Arthritis And The Feet

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an immunological disease that impacts the joints of the body. The feet are not immune to damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis. With rheumatoid arthritis, the joints of the body become inflamed. Walking can become painful. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition, however people inflicted with this disease may have extended periods of time without symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated, but not cured. Treatment is most effective when started as close to the onset of the disease as possible. The feet are often the first part of the body affected by rheumatoid arthritis. The front of the feet becomes painful and stiff. During the course of this disease, it can cause the toes to become contracted and curl. If this happens, wearing footwear with deep, wide toe boxes is important to prevent further problems with the toes. Therefore, any joint pain in the feet should be checked by a physician.

If the joint pain is rheumatoid arthritis, the doctor may prescribe a variety of treatments. Medication is typically prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis. Exercises may be recommended. Orthotics may be prescribed to alleviate some of the pressure on the feet.

Orthotics used for rheumatoid arthritis can be insoles or toe guards to reduce friction of the toes against footwear. The doctor may prescribe special orthotic footwear designed for people inflicted with rheumatoid arthritis. Splints, braces, canes, or crutches may be suggested and prescribed by a physician. If the rheumatoid arthritis has caused significant damage and causes pain or discomfort, the doctor may administer injections of corticosteroids.

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause bunions and hammertoe. The doctor may recommend surgery to correct foot problems caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Arthrodesis is the surgical fusion of joints. The person loses the ability to bend joints that have been surgically fused. However, arthrodesis can relieve the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Non-invasive Treatments For Bunions

Bunion pain is often caused by friction and pressure caused by ill-fitting footwear. People with bunions can wear regular footwear as long as they fit well and provide plenty of room across the toes of the foot. Of the toe box is usually too narrow in shoes with high heels or pointy toes.

Significant pain and inflammation can be caused by bunions. An non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) may provide some relief. Foot soaks in hot water, with or without Epsom salts, can provide some relief from pain and inflammation.

Bunion orthotics, such as bunion pads and toe spacers, can be used to alleviate the pressure on the bunion and toes that is caused by the bunions resulting misalignment of the foot. Bunion pads reduce friction against the footwear. Bunion toe spacers separate the big toe from the second toe. Bunions cause the big toe to crowd the second toe. This can cause the big toe to lie under or on top of the second toe. The spacer helps prevent the second toe from developing hammer toe or painful calluses.

The use of these bunion regulators, soft bunion splints, can be helpful. The area of the splint that covers the bunion is well-cushioned. Bunion regulators separate the big toe from the second toe, which alleviates the pressure on the second toe. The regulator stretches the toe muscles affected by the bunion. Bunion regulators can be purchased online or in drug stores.

Bunion stretch exercises are one form of non-invasive treatment. These exercises are done to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the big toes. With feet together, place a large, thick rubber band around the big toes. Keeping the heels together, gently move the front of your feet apart, creating a V-shape. Hold the stretch for about ten seconds. Relax and repeat the stretch twenty times.

If non-invasive treatment methods fail to relieve the pain and inflammation, a doctor may recommend bunion removal surgery. There are no cures for bunions. Consult a doctor when determining the best treatment methods for bunion care.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Device Replaces Casting For Orthotics

There is new technology that could replace the need for plaster casts used to create orthotic devices. A company called PAL Health Technologies, which is based in Pekin, Illinois, has developed a scanning device that collects and stores the dimensions of the patient’s foot. This new device is called Xtremityscan.

PAL Health Technologies has announced that they will be giving away an Xtremityscan unit this month at the upcoming Western Podiatric Medical Conference in Anaheim, CA. The Xtremityscan will make its debut at the conference.

The Xtremityscan creates a digital, three-dimensional model of a patient’s foot in seconds. The image can be rotated 360 degrees. The image can be displayed as wireframe, surface, and topographical views.

This scanning device has a patient database in which the scan can be stored. The Xtremityscan software can be used by a podiatrist to select the appropriate orthotic device and place an order for the necessary orthotic device through an Internet connection. PAL Health Technologies is a supplier of custom-made orthotic devices. This process speeds up the acquisition of orthotics since it eliminates the time it takes to ship the cast to PAL Health Technologies for their use to create the orthotics.

This would replace the previous method of casting the foot in plaster to obtain a model of the patient’s foot. Having an accurate model of the patient’s foot is necessary for making custom-made orthotics to correct foot problems such as misalignments. Orthotics are a common, non-invasive method of treatment for foot pain and biomechanical problems in the foot.

The Xtremityscan is available as a mobile unit on a cart. It is wireless, and therefore can be easily transported between examination rooms. The Xtremityscan units can be leased from PAL Health Technologies. PAL Health Technologies touts the Xtremityscan device as the complete digital orthotic prescription solution.

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