Saturday, January 6, 2018

Resolutions for the New Year: Resolve to Walk!

New Year's Resolutions...................

Resolution #1:  Be more active on this Blog!!

So many people include exercise as a resolution for the new year.  So many people give it up because the exercise they have chosen becomes a hardship either because of cost or complicated new equipment.  In my mind, the best exercise is also the easiest:  Walking.

Walking requires no special equipment other than a pair of appropriate shoes.  Walking requires no cost of membership.  Walking requires no commitment or long term relationship with a gym.  Walking requires you to 1) put on your shoes and 2) Go!

I used to think the same about running.  I loved to run.  I loved the crisp fresh air and the energy I felt when I was out there engaging with the world outside.  And running was easy.  Just put on my shoes and go!  Running became a problem however, when I my knee scope showed significant arthritis.  So instead, walking became the new running.

There are a MILLION websites with info on running, especially with the new year just behind us.  This article is what inspired me to return to this blog after a much too long absence.  There is some great advice here on how to maximize your walking workout.  Walking is the simplest thing you can do to get in shape for the new year!

While I can't promise I will blog weekly, I will try to focus on walking more because I truly believe walking is the answer to many people's quest for fitness. 

Today I want to talk about shoes.  While there used to be an entire category of "walking shoes" that I don't think were never intended for fitness walking.  The very best shoes for fitness walking are running shoes.  Running shoes, as opposed to tennis shoes, basketball shoes or even cross trainers allow you to propel in a forward motion from heel to toe.  Running shoes generally have more space in the toe box, provide more support, give padding at the ball of the foot and allow for shock absorption.  I am talking about traditional running shoes, not minimalist runners.

This post isn't intended to discuss the differences in the types of running shoes out there - that is an entirely different topic but the key elements are 1) making sure you have enough arch support if you are a pronator and 2) making sure you have enough shock absorption if you have a high arch foot and 3) its important to see a podiatric physician to determine your foot type and to be evaluated if you should be in custom orthotics before buying new running shoes.   For now, however, make the resolution to walk, find your running shoes and Go!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Recently, Mattel made big news: Barbie's got a brand-new bod.  As a mother (who is more curvy than many), I am excited to know that there are now Barbie doll options other than those that I grew up with - bodies that reflect body types other than those I had always dreamed of having!  While my daughter is too old to benefit from Mattel's attempt to characterize young women more accurately, I know she will share in my excitement of acceptance of multiple body types. 

But what REALLY excited me was to read that Mattel had already modified Barbie with
removable feet so that she could wear heels and flats!

Image result for barbie shoes
To me, these will always be Barbie's favorite pair of pumps!

How did I miss that news!!  Can you imagine - feet for flats and feet for heels! 

For evening, we would switch out our flexible flat feet to be able to put on high arched feet to have the stability to actually walk from our Ubers to the restaurant for dinner - without worrying that you might fall off your heels or worse yet, be seen wobbling in those heels.
Image result for barbie shoesImage result for barbie shoes

For day time running errands with the kids (as a mom) or for the kids (as a teacher because when I was a kid all my Barbie's were teachers or secretaries), Barbie can kick off those high arch feet which lack shock absorption and put on her more flexible feet to allow proper foot function and rid her of her back pain.   

Or she can put on the feet that are bunion free (bunions BTW - are usually a result of those flexible flat feet) to put on flats that won't hit right across the bunions and cause direct pain.  Or she can put on the feet with a slight arch to make up for the lack of an arch in most flat shoes.

 Image result for barbie shoes

The boots, of course provide the best of both worlds, unless Barbie does have a bunion.

 Image result for barbie shoes

Then Barbie may need to go to Barbie Shoe Maker to have them stretched until she is ready to have surgery to correct the bunion.  Which of course, would be the best decision Barbie mom, Barbie teacher or Barbie secretary could make to ensure her future foot health and avoid Barbie arthritis in the unlikely event that she ages.

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We won't talk about Barbie platforms!

 Now if only we can come up with a Barbie foot to make those sling backs stay on!
 Image result for barbie shoes

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The PERFECT Wedding Shoes

I happened to notice the shoes that this bride was wearing in this photo - granted, the article was about the wedding couple being photo bombed by a group of naked bike riders in Philly (they do that in Chicago too); but my attention immediately went to her shoes!

They are the perfect height for dancing, smiling, kissing and walking down the aisle!  However, if you absolutely must have a higher heel for walking down that aisle with your very tall groom; take the following precautions:

1) Have a second pair of shoes with a lower heel.  That's what I did.  My husband is a foot taller than I am and I didn't want all the photos to make is so obvious.  I had one pair for the ceremony and one pair for the rest of the evening.  I had the dress hemmed to accommodate both at a sort of in-between length.

2) Practice and rehearse - not just at the rehearsal!  While you are not going to break in those heels, you can at least get used to wearing them if you start wearing them around the house for short periods of time weeks before the wedding.

3) Put pads in those shoes to take pressure off painful spots.  Nothing like your painful feet keeping you from smiling on the happiest day of your life (hopefully) so far.  You may need to experiment with the pads but better yet, take the shoes to a podiatrist and see how he or she can help you reduce pressure points while wearing them.

4)  Walk slowly.  I have known brides that are in such a rush to the alter and from the alter that I would swear that they were wearing roller skates.  Walking slowly will help you keep your balance and have a more normal gait despite any crazy heel height you wear.

5)  BE CAREFUL!  Especially if you are not used to wearing four, five or six inch heels.  It is very easy to literally fall off your heels.  Nothing worse than having an ankle sprain and not being able to dance to "your" song.

Now that I have your feet covered - its someone else's job to help you figure out your hair issues!

Friday, August 28, 2015

When Your Feet Still Hurt AFTER You Take Your Heels Hurt!

High Heels - some people love them, some people leave them.  Most women are like myself, wear them on occasions.  Granted, most women will admit that their feet hurt while they are wearing their heels, but what does it mean if your feet hurt after you take them off?

Pain at the ball of the foot, most commonly felt while wearing high heels, can be more of a problem then direct pressure from shoes.  Wearing heels, even occasionally, can cause tearing in one or more of the ligaments that are on the bottom of the joints located at the ball of the foot.  Pain at the ball of the foot is usually due to inflammation, scar tissue or a partial tear of this ligament.  The pain remains even when wearing flat shoes or without shoes because damage has occurred.

This ligament, known as the plantar plate, is responsible for keeping the toes straight.  When torn even partially, the ligament causes the toe to rotate or displace over time with or without pain.  Even without pain, there are can be swelling on the top of the foot in that region.   But its not just pain, swelling and damage to the ligament that you need to worry about.  It is not uncommon to develop hammertoes because of a disruption of this ligament. 

Treatment for this problem is dependent on when you seek treatment and how much damage there is to the tissue.  Sometimes extended physical therapy and taking the pressure off the ligament can allow the tissue to heal.  Often, using some of the newer forms of regenerative medicine can result in a quicker resolution.  Finally, surgery may be necessary as a last resort.

One thing to caution you on pain in this area.  NEVER have a cortisone injection unless you have ruled out damage to this ligament.  Cortisone, often used for inflammation in the area and/or neuromas in the area can weaken the ligament and cause further damage.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Great - Now I Have Blisters BETWEEN My Toes!!

I read an advice column this past weekend suggesting to wear "toe socks" as a way to avoid blisters between the toes on a woman who recently started a walking program and I take issue with that advice! 

Blisters are a sign of irritation and blisters between the toes would indicate irritation of one toe against the adjacent toe.  Usually, there are bone protrusions on the adjacent toes that cause pressure from one toe to the next piggy.  Hammertoes commonly cause a thickness of the toe joints which can be an  irritant by themselves or with bone spurs on the toe bones.  These bony prominences, when pressed together in tight shoes, cause the body to try to protect itself by creating fluid under the skin.  That fluid turns into a blister and can become quite painful on its own due to inflammation. 
Wearing toe socks may seem to give cushioning there is already a blister present but tend to take up even more room in an already crowded space and wearers would find continued walking quite uncomfortable!  Small blisters usually resolve on their own although they may cause a callus over the area.  Blisters that are painful, whether between the toes or elsewhere, need to be relieved of the fluid.  Using a sterile needle to incise the blister on its most dependent location will work, but if any blood is in the blister or any fluid that is not clear comes out, it is time to see your podiatrist.  If any signs of infection are present (swelling, drainage, redness), a trip to the podiatrist is also very important.
The best way to avoid blisters is to make sure you are wearing shoes that are wide enough to comfortable fit all five toes!  I often advise my walkers to use running shoes.
Removing the bone spurs or correcting any hammertoes that may be present will usually solve the problem once and for all!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BEST Treatments for Toenail Fungus would NOT Include Cornmeal Mush!!

I was shocked recently to read in the Chicago Tribune that "Cornmeal Mush" may help "cure" toenail fungus!  This article suggests soaking your cornmeal for an hour then soaking your feet for an hour.  While I have heard MANY home remedies, this is the first I have heard that cornmeal has antifungal properties!
Fungus residing in the toenails is very difficult to "cure" because there are so many factors that contribute to its existence and infection - its not so easy to just say the infection developed because of a pedicure.  While pedicures can, and often do, directly cause fungus to be seated within a toenail, there are many other factors that make treating fungus challenging. 

It is important to treat toenail fungus, known as onychomycosis, because it can spread to other nails, worsen in an isolated nail, cause deformity of the affected nails and cause a fungal infection in the skin.  Once you have decided to treat the nail, you need to be committed as persistence is very important.  Despite what the pharmaceuticals would have you believe, there is no "magic pill" that rids you of fungus permanently. The best defense we have now is a combination of treatments which includes laser treatments, topical treatments, treatments and possibly including short term oral antifungal treatments. 

Not everyone is ready to treat their fungal nails and while I am a podiatric physician I am also a woman who understands that decision!  There are certain times when a pedicure is a must!  Many podiatrists now offer a cosmetic temporary solution that will allow you to show off your pedicure without worry that your toes will be a source of embarrassment.   I have recently began using KeryFlex which will transform your ugly nails (whether there is fungus in them or not) to a normal looking nail that will last for weeks.  KeryFlex will also help stop the spread of the disease as it creates a seal over the fungal nail.

Deciding when and how to treat your onychomycosis is a decision you should make with your podiatrist.  While home remedies may show improvement in some individuals, the most effective and direct treatments should have research behind them and clinical results.  I think most podiatrists would agree - leave the cornmeal at the breakfast table and bring your feet to us!

Monday, July 14, 2014

I LOVE Kitten Heels

As a woman, a female podiatrist and the American Podiatric Medical Association's expert on shoes, especially women's shoes - I must say that I do NOT agree with the statements made  here in Yahoo this morning about Kitten Heels!  I think they are the perfect alternative to heels for women who want or need to feel dressed up.  The height is perfect and the usually skinny heel is not an issue with sidewalk cracks!  All women know what to avoid walking over when wearing skinny heals - especially in the city where there are all kinds of grate coverings.  I also do not agree that shoes cause bunions, even shoes that pitch the foot forward as stated in this article.  They can aggravate bunions, but its foot type that generally causes bunions.  I encourage patients to wear Kitten Heels every day in my practice due to their modest heel height!