How can Smoking Effect your Feet and Legs?

What comes to mind when you think of the common side effects of smoking?

Typically, most of us think that smoking only affects our heart and our lungs, right?

I’m sure you wouldn’t think that smoking affects your feet? Read more

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

How does high blood pressure affect your feet ?

 

High blood pressure (referred to as hypertension) has become a very common medical condition affecting patients of all ages. Patients are often diagnosed by their doctor who may prescribe a number of treatments for reducing the blood pressure levels. This may include lifestyle changes and/or medication. Hypertension brings with it a number of potential health issues however most people tend to overlook the effect that blood pressure has on the lower limbs. Often, symptoms identified in the lower limbs by podiatrists may help the diagnosis of hypertension and thus should not be ignored. 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

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.

Read more

Using Toe Pressures to Assess Arterial Foot Health

The effect of diabetes on the feet and lower limbs has been well established both in literature and in clinical studies. Changes in the body can ultimately impact both the larger and smaller arteries in the lower limbs. Calcification of arteries as well as formation of thrombi (Blood clots) may lead to further problems that can end in death. As such, ankle systolic blood pressure measurements have been an important process in evaluating and monitoring lower limb arteries for onset of diseases such as peripheral arterial disease and critical limb ischaemia. Currently the most widely accepted method of assessing this is the Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI). Though this method is effective in identifying blockages in blood flow, recent studies have shown it to be unreliable in elderly patients, those with diabetes or chronic renal failure because the peripheral arteries may be incompressible as a result of calcification or blockages in these smaller arteries.

What does the Systolic Toe Pressure Machine Detect?

The newest technologies look to assess the systolic blood pressure in the toes as well as toe pressure indices. The readings are usually taken at the hallux. The results of these studies can be used to identify or screen for a number of medical conditions including:

  • Blockages in large and small blood vessels
  • Arterial insufficiency
  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Ischaemia/intermittent claudication
  • Necrosis and amputation risks.

Read more

Diabetes and your feet – Part 3

Steps to care for your feet and keep them healthy

Having looked at the potential risks to the feet of a person with diabetes, this final installment will look at appropriate steps to take to keep the feet healthy and safe from potential injury and/or complications.

The Diabetes Association of Queensland has presented a 5 step protocol towards attaining healthy feet. The steps follow the below:

  • Caring for your feet

Wash and dry you feet daily ensuring that you dry well inbetween the toes. The best way to do this would be to use a towel.

Prevent the skin on your feet from getting dry by rubbing moisturiser daily. Moisturisers like sorbolene, vitamin E and aloe vera creams are a good way of maintaining moisture. It is important to remember however not to put moisturiser inbetween the toes as this region should be as dry as possible. Wearing socks also helps keen the skin from becoming dry.

Read more

How does Diabetes Effect your Feet (Part 2)

Diabetes and Associated Foot Complications

Building on our first piece on diabetes and their effect on feet, this week’s blog will focus on bringing light to some possible foot complications that may occur as a result of diabetes and some warning signs to look out for.
Diabetes can cause damage to your nerves and blood supply, putting your feet at greater risk of damage. This risk is only increased if the diabetes has been long standing, is poorly controlled (blood sugar levels are too high) or if the person is inactive or smokes. Changes in the blood that occurs from diabetes makes the feet and lower limbs more prone to infections and poor healing wounds. The fact that diabetes can also cause a loss of sensation in the feet, small and apparently harmless cuts can go unnoticed and with periods of weight bearing can break down and form ulcers that heal very slowly.

There are a number of signs and symptoms that need to be addressed immediately and others that can be taken care of regularly with the help of a podiatrist.

Some complications that require urgent medical attention include: Read more

Podiatry Care for Diabetes Patients (Part 1)

 Part 1 : Diabetes and Peripheral Neuropathy

As a lead into the start of Diabetes Awareness Week (July 12-18), we here at The Cronulla Podiatry Centre will have a three-part blog aimed at bringing awareness of the effect of type 2 diabetes on not only the feet but to the quality of life of those with the condition. Type 2 diabetes, often referred to as a ‘lifestyle disease’, is the most common form occurring when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin required by the body. Diabetes Australia estimates that 1.1 million Australians currently suffer from type 2 diabetes with 280 new cases reported every day.

Part one will look at a phenomenon called diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

What is diabetic peripheral neuropathy?

This is a complication of uncontrolled diabetes which results in nerve damage in the feet. Read more