School Shoes – The Perfect Fit

By | General Foot Care, Specialist Treatment | No Comments

School Shoes are an important fit to get right as kids can take up to 16,000 steps day.

Things to look for in a good school shoe are:

  • Leather upper and quality stitching to provide good durability
  • Rubber sole to increase shock absorption and durability
  • Leather lining to allow for breathability
  • Shock absorbing midsole to protect the foot during high impact activity
  • Flexible forefoot to allow for adequate bending (required by the foot when walking)

It is important to remember that just because a shoe goes on without protest doesn’t make it a good fit. Get shoes correctly fitted by shoe specialists.

It is also important not to buy school shoes too big to allow ‘growing room’ as an incorrect fit can lead to tripping and injuries, especially if the child is running around. Having said that a small amount of growing room doesn’t hurt especially if an insole is added and this can usually be fitted into the shoe at the shoe shop when purchasing.

Don’t forget that if you have any queries or concerns come and visit one of our podiatrists to have your child’s feet assessed. Early detection and treatment for childhood foot conditions can go a long way in reducing functional problems later in life.

Heel Pain

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Heel pain in adults is one of the most commonly presenting complaints to our podiatrists, with the most common cause being plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the heel to the ball of the foot. Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot however if tension becomes too high, damage may occur. It can affect one or both heels and usually occurs without a history of trauma.

Pain is usually felt on the underside of the heel, and can present as a stabbing pain. Pain is often most intense with the first steps of the day or after rest.  Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

Factors that may increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis can include:
Age: common between the ages of 40 to 60
Certain types of exercise: those that place a lot of stress on your heel (e.g. dancing and running)
Poor foot mechanics: being flat footed, having a high arch or even an abnormal walking pattern can  place extra strain on the plantar fascia
Weight: overweight individuals have extra pressures going through the fascia
Occupation: those that have you standing or walking around for long periods

Initial treatment often includes gentle stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia, weight loss, taping for arch support and the possible prescription of heel lifts. Care should also be taken by the patient to wear supportive and stable shoes; open-back shoes, sandals, thongs, and flat shoes should be avoided.

Long term treatment can include the use of orthotics, night splints, exercise and stretching regimes. For more persistent cases cortisone injections or surgery may advised.

Diabetes Management

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Diabetes is an increasingly common issue in our society with more than 100,000 Australians having developed the condition in the last year. Diabetes can affect both the blood and the nerves and the most common complications involve the eyes, kidneys and feet.

Over time diabetic individuals can become neuropathic and loose feeling in their feet. This can be problematic as they are often unaware of pressure points, rubbing and foreign objects (such as stones in their shoes) which if left unattended can cause lesions in the skin. With inadequate blood flow to the region these can develop into ulcers. Regular care and foot checks are vital for maintaining foot health.

Some tips for caring for your feet at home include:

  • Check feet each day for redness, swelling and heat (these may be signs of infection)
  • If you have trouble seeing your feet use a mirror on the floor to check the soles of your feet
  • Use your hands to feel your feet to check for anything abnormal
  • Make sure you wash and dry your feet properly on a regular basis
  • If excess moisture occurs between toes you can use methylated spirits to dry the feet
  • Check your shoes for foreign objects or wear and tear before putting them on

Foot problems can be avoided if you take care of your feet and act quickly when you have a problem. Get your feet checked at least once a year by a doctor or podiatrist to detect problems early and help prevent complications.

Keryflex Nail Restoration System

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Podiatrists commonly see a wide variety of nail disorders. They can range from short term nail damage caused by trauma, genetic abnormalities or severe fungal infections. Experienced podiatrists are experts in diagnosing and offering appropriate management for the wide ranging conditions that can affect the nails and their appearance.

One of the treatments we specialise in is the Keryflex Nail Restoration System.

Essentially this is a cosmetic treatment to improve the appearance of nails. It can be for nails that are permanently damaged for which there are no other treatment options available to improve their appearance or for a short term cover up of a nail whilst it is recovering from trauma.

Matthew Dilnot and Stephanie Carter have been using the Keryflex Nail Restoration System for over a year at Melbourne Foot Clinic and we have been extremely happy with its results. To date we have used it across a wide range of nails. A number of our clients have long term damaged nails that are permanently thickened and very slow growing. In our practice we are able to reduce and sculpt their nail back to a more normal thickness and then recreate an entirely artificial nail over the top. There is a need for approximately 15% or more nail left at the base for the new artificial nail to attach to.

The cost of this treatment is a consultation fee plus the cost of one kit of Keryflex priced at $80.00. The client is then supplied with the Keryflex kit and we generally are able to complete 3 treatments per pack. Normally nails need to be “filled” and trimmed every 3 months after their first application.

Keryflex can be used for partially damaged nails that require minor filling and can even be used during the treatment of fungal nails whilst patients are undergoing oral antifungal treatment.

 

Pre Pointe Assessment

By | Sports Podiatry | No Comments

Getting your first pair of pointe shoes is a very exciting time in a young dancer’s career. Pointe work places a large amount of stress and strain on the lower leg and foot so it is important to have a pre pointe assessment to determine whether the dancer has adequate strength, control and technique to progress onto pointe. Our Podiatrist’s can provide a comprehensive pre pointe assessment. The assessment involves gathering a wide variety of information from the dancer as well as getting them to perform different tasks and exercises identifying:

  • History (including length of time dancing as well as dance styles)
  • Previous foot or lower limb injuries
  • Growth and Posture (alignment of the lower limbs and hips)
  • Range of motion available at joints and turnout
  • Strength and Flexibility (identifying hyper mobility or tendency to sickle foot)

Often a dancer will not be ready to go en pointe at their initial assessment and the dancer will be given stretching and strengthening exercises in areas of weakness or biomechanical restriction identified by the podiatrist. These simple exercises can make a huge difference to both the dancer’s technique and their safety when they begin dancing en pointe.

Other dance related injuries including ingrown toenails, corns, callouses, blisters, warts and other ankle and foot related problems can also be treated and managed by our podiatrists.

Chilblains

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Chilblains are a painful inflammation that often occurs in the toes due to sudden changes in temperature such as putting cold feet onto a heater or hot water bottle. They are characterized as swollen, itchy skin that is often blue, red or white in appearance; and they can involve burning sensations or blistering. Chilblains do not permanently damage the tissue however in serious cases if left untreated can lead to ulceration. Often chilblains occur in individuals overly sensitive to changes in temperature or with poor circulation, such as children, the elderly or people with diabetes. Females or underweight individuals also have a higher susceptibility to chilblains than the general population.

The exact cause of chilblains is unknown however it is thought that they are associated with poor circulatory responses to changes in temperature. To respond to changes in temperature the circulatory system undergoes opening and closing of blood vessels to regulate the amount of heat that is lost via evaporation to the skin. When the vessels open and close to rapidly by-products from the blood are not removed and can lead to irritation of the skin.

Because chilblains are often associated with poor circulation it is important to exercise regularly to promote circulation. This can be as simple as getting off your desk and going for a walk every few hours; it is also important to avoid tight shoes as these can further contribute to reduced circulation.

Chilblains are also associated with winter as sudden temperature changes are common as individuals move from the cold outside to heated buildings. To help prevent the formation of chilblains individuals can ensure they are wearing suitable footwear for winter that doesn’t leak as well as warm socks (no thongs or sandals) and see a podiatrist for regular professional treatment and foot health checkups.

If you believe that you have been suffering chilblains and symptoms have not subsided for 2-3 weeks it is important to consult a podiatrist or GP for a medical opinion.

Treatment Tips:

  • Avoid sudden temperature changes – resist the urge to place feet on the heater
  • Perform gentle exercises to warm the body and promote blood flow
  • If skin over chilblain is unbroken, rub deep heat into affected area to improve blood flow
  • Visit podiatrist for reoccurring chilblains or if the skin is broken

Foot Facts

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¾ of people experience serious foot problems in their lifetime.

The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles.

¼ of all the bones in the human body are down in your feet. When these bones are out of alignment, so is the rest of the body.

Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems.

It’s neglect and a lack of awareness of proper care – including poor fitting shoes – that bring on problems.

Women have about four times as many foot problems as men. High heels are partly to blame.

Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all-around well being.

Your feet mirror your general health. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet – so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.

There are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet. Sweat glands in the feet excrete as much as a 500ml of moisture a day.

Walking barefoot can cause plantar warts.

The two feet may be different sizes. Buy shoes for the larger one.

About 5% of Australians have toenail problems in a given year.

The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, which adds up to about 185,000 kilometers over a lifetime. That’s enough to go around the circumference of the earth four times.

There are currently more websites on the Internet having to do with foot fetishes than with foot health.

The average child will take its first steps around 13-17 months – but between 10 and 18 months falls within the “normal” range.

During the first year of a child’s life their feet grow rapidly, reaching almost half their adult size. By 12, a child’s foot is about 90 per cent of its adult length.

When walking, each time your heel lifts off the ground it forces the toes to carry one half of your body weight.

The first foot coverings were probably animal skins, which Stone Age peoples in northern Europe and Asia tied around their ankles in cold weather.

Cigarette smoking is the biggest cause of Peripheral Vascular Disease (disease of the arteries of the feet and legs) that often leads to pain on walking, ulceration, infection and in the most severe cases – gangrene and possible amputation.

Around 40 per cent of Australians will experience some form of foot problems in their lifetime.
Foot disorders in the elderly are extremely common and are the cause of much pain and disability, and consequent loss of mobility and independence.

Children’s feet are mostly cartilage when they are born and the bones will keep growing and developing throughout childhood and adolescence.

Children’s feet grow rapidly in childhood, often changing sizes in months.

Children’s feet will reach almost half their adult foot size by the age of 18 months.

Up to one third of children aged between 4 and 6 years of age suffer from ‘growing pains’ in the feet and legs.

An estimated 10-20 per cent of children have flat feet (flat feet in children are not necessarily a problem but if they are causing pain, affecting mobility or interfering with activities, they should be investigated.

By the time we reach 50 we have lost up to half the shock absorbing capacity of the natural foot pad.

Our feet absorb 1.5 to 2 times our body weight during normal walking and up to 4 times our body weight when jogging.