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Onions in your Socks!!

Chinese medicine says that your feet are a direct access point to internal organs in your body and this is closely linked with the nervous system.   The bottom of the feet have about 7000 nerve endings that link to different organs within the body.  It is believed that organic onions and garlic kill germs and bacteria when applied to the skin.  The idea is that you put sliced onions or garlic into the bottom of your socks whilst you sleep in them and the healing powers will work to purify your blood and absorb toxins!!        

Tailor's Bunion

A Tailor's Bunion is a bony protrusion on the outside of the foot at the base of the little toe.  It will often be inflamed with soft tissue swelling or Bursitis (inflamed sac of fluid).  Correctly fitted footwear, preferably lace-ups, is essential and relief from pressure and friction can be obtained using various gel products from this site.

Pronation

Pronation of the foot is when the foot at the ankle turns outwards causing a rolling in of the foot.  Over pronation is when this movement is excessive.  Supination is the opposite to pronation.  Pronation is a twisting of the foot causing a twisting of the muscles running from the leg into the ankle and foot.  Pronation is often the cause of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, frequent ankle sprains, shin splints and arch pain.  Pronation can also lead to low back pain and hip and knee pain.  The treatment for pronation is usually orthotics, insoles or shoe inserts.  The orthotic will gently redistribute weight and neutralise the twisting of the ankle in relation to the forefoot.  By putting the foot into a neutral position, pain should be relieved and normal foot function encouraged.  In principle, the more rigid the orthotic, the increase in functionality. 

Shin Splints

Shin splints is often experienced by runners.  This is a pain on the front or inside of the lower leg that arises due to extreme exertion of the muscles.  The pain usually develops as a dull ache which can become more intense as time goes on.  Small tears in the leg muscle can sometimes occur where they are attached to the shin bone.  To reduce the risk of getting shin splints always use the correct footwear and avoid excessive running and jumping on hard surfaces.  Insoles or other orthotic devices can be beneficial for this condition and seek advice from your Podiatrist if necessary

Fast Lanes for Shoppers!

Almost half of shoppers would back the introduction of fast walking lanes in high street.  New research has found 45% of people would support fast lanes in their town centre.   A Liverpool shopping centre is trialling fast pedestrian lanes to see if they benefit busy shoppers and is eagerly awaiting feedback.    16-24 year olds were the most enthusiastic with 69% in favour of the suggestion.   Of the over 55 group, only 37% supported the idea.   In the Chinese city of Chongqing last year, they introduced a lane for Smartphone users!!     The plan failed though when Smartphone users were so engrossed in texting or conversation, that they failed to notice the markings!

Gout

Common symptoms of gout are sudden and severe pain in one or more joints, typically in your big toe.  Pain often develops at night making your joints tender and swollen.  You may also suffer from peeling, itchy and flaky skin over the affected joint as the inflammation subsides.  Severe gout pain makes walking difficult and even the slightest pressure on the joint becomes unbearable. 

Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood.  This acid is a waste product from purines.  If you produce too much uric acid or excrete too little when you urinate, the acid will build up.  

During an attack it is important to rest, raise your limb and avoid knocking or damaging the affected joint.  Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel, to the affected area.  Drink plenty of water (at least 2 pints a day)and avoid alcohol.   Weight loss is the most effective dietary treatment because it can reduce your urate levels.  Weight loss should be combined with a healthy diet and daily exercise.  Extreme weight loss or starvation diets can raise urate levels by speeding up the breakdown of cells in the body.     

   

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative (wear and tear) condition characterised by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage in one or more joints of the body.  Cartilage cushions and protects the surfaces of the bones during movement.  Osteoarthritis usually develops as part of the ageing process and can restrict one's ability to perform everyday tasks without pain.  Osteoarthritis can occur in various joints throughout the body, including feet, hands, spine, hips and knees.  In the foot the disease most commonly affects the first toe joint but can also affect the joints in the forefoot.  Foot pain can be experienced to different degrees in the foot and ankle often with swelling, stiffness and inflammation in or near the joint.

As the disease progresses the cartilage deteriorates and gets thinner.  The surface of the bones lose their protective layer and eventually rub together.  Injury can also lead to osteoarthritis although this may take many years to develop

Treatment of osteoarthritis in the foot by a podiatrist is to pursue the relief of symptoms by palliative means such as orthotic devices, shoe inserts, gel cushions and strapping.  Sometimes immobilisation of the foot may be necessary to allow acute inflammation to subside.  In extreme cases medial intervention may be necessary to introduce oral medication and in some cases anti-inflammatory injections.  It is always advisable for people suffering from arthritis in the foot and ankle to wear supportive footwear such as lace-ups or trainers.   

Toe Nail Care

Toenails should always be cut straight across and not cut into the corners.  Do not cut the nail beyond the edge of the nail groove.  Use nail pliers or nail scissors and then file with a sapphire file or Prolyne glass foot dresser.  Nail pliers can be supplied with either a straight or curved blade or with a barrel or leaf spring.  The leaf spring is slightly easier to use if you have arthritis or weak hands.  Smaller pliers are available with a leaf spring and easy grip handle.  Nail scissors are available in standard length or with long handles for those unable to bend down easily.  

Ingrowing Toenails (Onychocryptosis)

With an ingrowing toenail the edge of the toenail or splinter of nail penetrates the skin and causes pain and often infection.  Hypergranulation is the term used when the skin around this splinter of toenail swells and grows over it.  Ingrowing toenails are often caused by the nails not being cut in the correct way but can also be congenital or caused by stubbing the toe.  Toenails should always be cut straight across and not angled at the corners.  If the toe is infected, seek professional advice immediately from a Podiatrist.  Wash your feet in warm salt water and apply a mild antiseptic.  In severe cases surgery can cure the condition.

Caring for Children's Feet

When a baby is born, the bones in his/her feet are made of soft, flexible cartilage.  This hardens as the baby grows but the feet wont be fully developed until the child's late teens.   Newborns' feet are quite flat but by about 2 years old you should be able to see what kind of foot shape the child will have.  Toddlers will inherit one of three main foot shapes:

Tapered - the big toe is the biggest of all the toes

Rounded - the second or third toe is longer than the big toe

Square - all the toes are about the same length

Allow a toddler's feet to develop as naturally as possible.  Let him spend time every day without shoes so that he can exercise the muscles in the feet.  Check socks/tights/sleep suits regularly to ensure there is sufficient room at the toes.