How to Look after Elderly Feet.

It is hard to deny, our feet are important. Not only do they help us ambulate around but they also form the base of our body and work to help keep us upright. As we get older, so do our feet and as they do, there may be issues arising which may require assistance and care to keep us happy and healthy.

Podiatrist will often look at a persons feet and obtain a good insight into the general health of the patient. Factors such as skin texture, skin colour, thick or discoloured nails, uncomfortable or tight feeling skin or generalised pain in the legs of feet can be indicative of problems not often easily observed. Conditions commonly seen in the elderly population such as arthritis, diabetes or circulatory problems can easily cause any of the mentioned symptoms. This is why, much like a classic car, the older we get the more specialised care we need to keep our body healthy. Some common podiatry problems seen in the feet of elderly patients includes: Read more

Cracked Heels; More than just a Cosmetic Problem?

Cracked heels, often the bane of people’s existence and can cause people to hide their feet away from embarrassment. Whether from a personal perspective or comments made from others, cracked heels can impact on a person’s confidence and self-esteem, often opting to put into storage ones favourite pair of sandals. We all see commercials of model-esque feet and advertisements for various products that promise smooth, silky heels, however the truth of the matter is a little more complex than they would have you believe. Cracked heels can be caused by a myriad of different problems, some more serious than others. Some heel cracks (or fissures technically), do not cause any discomfort whilst others can become painful and infected if neglected long enough. So in short, yes, cracked heels are indeed more than just a cosmetic problem but to understand why, we need to delve a little bit deeper into the issue. Read more

Why Do Corns Hurt So Much?

Often the size of a grain of salt, corns can cause considerable pain for to a person. People who suffer from corns can describe a range of symptoms which includes feeling:

‘Pain on pressure when either walking or wearing certain shoes’

‘Like I am walking on small pebbles or stones underneath my foot’

When I often explain to patients exactly what corns are, they are amazed that something that small can be the cause of so much pain. But why exactly are corns so painful? The answer to that question lies in the shape of the corn. Read more

Pain between the toes? Probably a corn!

In this blog i have decided to write about pain in-between the toes as a few patients have presented this week with using acid patches on the sore area in an attempt to self-treat but causing more harm then good. A corn is technically keratin which is the most upper layer of the skin. It has no blood or nerve supply. When excess pressure is applied on the skin, particularly over joints, it leads to excess keratin in order to protect the site from breaking down. This extra keratin can taken different shapes and size depending on the direction and size of the pressure. A corn is simply excess keratin but it presents in the shape of a small cone with the sharp point being deepest. It can sometimes be confused with a wart due to the round shape you see on the surface. When corns occur between the toes, they can be very painful because it feels like having a splinter in your skin wedged. Inter-digital corns often present in winter due to frequent use of closed-in shoes.  Read more

How do shoes cause bunions , corns, hammer toes, ingrown toenails ?

It is a well observed and well documented fact that poorly fitting footwear can cause foot problems to arise in people who previously had no foot troubles. Whilst fact remains, people often still persist with shoes that are either too narrow or too small for their feet and often present to podiatry clinics with a number of different problems. Some of the most common problems I have seen in patients who have presented to the clinic are listed below and have often had footwear choice as major contributing factor to the development of problems. Read more

What is a Corn and Callous, and can you stop them

What are calluses and corns?

Calluses and corns are areas of thick skin caused by pressure or friction. It is a normal reaction by the body to produce thick skin when pressure is applied, in order to prevent itself from breaking down. However, this thickness can cause secondary pain by applying pressure on the soft skin around it. Corns and callouses are made of keratin, just like our hair and nails, so they dont actually have feeling. There is no nerve or blood supply to these lesions. The pain is caused by the pressure they apply to the soft skin.

Callouses are usually a patch of thickened skin which will be yellow in colour. They are caused by sheer forces on the skin.

Corns can be soft (between the toes) or hard (top of toes or sole of foot). A corn will usually appear as small seed size patch of hard skin. It occurs when there is torsional forces on the skin, which is why it becomes like cone shaped lesion. It hurts when direct pressure is applied. Read more

Hammer toes, Clawed toes, Curly toes

 Toe deformities are becoming more prevalent due to lifestyle and shoe characteristics. Though most people are quick to diagnose misshapen toes as ‘hammertoes’, there in fact are four different types of toe abnormalities. These include:

  • Hammer toes
  • Claw toes
  • Mallet toes
  • Retracted toes

Whilst there is an appreciable difference in the abnormal alignment of each type of deformity the causative factors and consequences are generally the same.

The hammertoe deformity is possibly the most common misalignment condition that affects the smaller toes. The condition is characterized by contraction of the toe to a position that can cause pressure spots to form due to shoe pressure whilst walking. Whilst the deformity itself is not life-threatening it can become worse and more painful altering the biomechanics of the feet in the process.

Lesser toe deformities are generally progressive and whilst they cannot be stopped, the speed of onset, progression of condition as well as symptoms caused can be controlled. Read more

Shoes that Fit Orthotics

Part of my job when dispensing orthotics to patients, is to educate them on the type of shoes that fit orthotics as is can be often confusing as to what to buy and what to avoid. Fitting orthotics in sport shoes, or lace-up shoes is often a straight forward process with no difficulty. However, orthotics that have to be used in work or casual footwear is often confusing as they vary so much. I have written this article as a guide to assist those who use orthotics, and need professional advise and guidance on what features to look for in a casual or work shoe to comfortably fit orthotics.

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How to Treat Bunions?

What are bunions?

Medically referred to as “hallux abducto valgus”, bunions are a relatively common deformity found in the fore foot area which is usually characterised by a prominent ‘bump’ and deviation of the big toe from its original position. The condition can lead to painful motion of the joint when walking or difficulty when wearing or fitting shoes. The condition can occur at any point of life but research does show an increased incidence rate in people over 45 with females also being more likely to develop a bunion. A patient may present to a clinic with or without pain. Those who have discomfort, generally describe a pain centralised to the big toe joint. Aching pain may also be described with irritation from footwear on the prominent bump. Patients may report that physical activity may make the bunions feel worse and thus may limit their physical activity levels. Read more