Ski Season is here. Can you Ride those Slopes Smoothly and Safely?

Skiing and snowboarding is without a doubt a popular recreational sport amongst Australians. Whether you are a novice or experienced, the cold effects us all equally and may often affect the alignment and movement of your feet which can highly influence your skill on the slopes. Below are pointers for preparing for the ski season:

  1. Use a fresh clean pair of socks every day

Using dry, clean socks daily will ensure you keep your skin with minimal maceration (build-up of moisture particularly in-between the toes). This will reduce the risk of blisters and skin infections such as tinea. If you have the tendency to get sweaty feet, the apply powder on your feet prior to wearing the socks.  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

Avoid Painful Feet this Holiday Season with these Podiatry Tips

Your feet are vital. Not only do they carry the weight of your body and help you ambulate around, but they also help your joints function in a way that is most beneficial to your overall body health. So its easy to see how badly affected your life can be if your feet are painful and no time is this more obvious than during the holiday season. Heading into the shops for Christmas shopping can put considerable strain on your feet as you often can spend countless hours walking on unforgiving terrain, not to mention all of the additional weight bearing activities that need to be done to make sure everything is ready. Read more

How to Treat an Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains is an injury that often occurs when the ligaments connecting the bones of the foot and ankle either stretch or tear (partially or completely). This type of injury is often associated with athletes that are involved in side to side motions such as quick changes in direction or speed. People who suffer such an injury usually feel instant discomfort at the level of the ankle and depending on the severity of the injury, associated swelling and/or ankle weakness.

Types of Ankle Sprains

There are 3 different types of ankle sprains which are identified by the nature of the injury alongside which structures are affected. These types include:

– Inversion sprain: often referred to as ‘rolling your ankle’. This is perhaps the most common type of ankle injury and occurs when the foot turns inwards as a results stretching and/or tearing the ligaments located on the outside of the ankle.

– Eversion sprains: occur when the foot turns inwards often causing injury to the ligaments located on the inside of the ankle.

– High ankle sprains: are the least common type of ankle injury but often are the most serious. It can involve either the inversion or eversion type and occurs when the foot is forced upwards or the leg severely twisted with the foot positioned on the ground. The injury can cause damage to a ligament called the syndesmosis, which connects the two leg bones together and can take quite a while to heal if damaged. Read more

Weak Buttocks Ruin the Runner

Building better Glutes – Part 2.

The gluteus medius should be considered in every running injury. This muscle is under-appreciated by runners or active people because it isn’t large or is well known for producing tone and bulk. This muscle is very much like the tow bar or tow ball between a car and a trailer, without it being secured properly, the weakness in the link jeopardizes the stability of the trailer.

During running, the role of the gluteus medius is to ac as a pelvic stabiliser. So for example, whilst your running and on the right leg, it stops the left side pelvis from tilting down tilt more than seven to eight degrees from parallel to the ground. If the gluteus medius is not functioning well enough to achieve this control, the athlete is said to have a ‘Trendelenburg gait’. Often, but not always, you may see the same weakness in walking (producing a waddling motion or, in extremis, a limp), and the dysfunction will then be more marked when they run. Read more

Which Running Shoe to Buy?

It can be a very confusing and over-whelming experience trying to shop for a running shoe. Its great that running shoe companies are offering such a wide range of shoes with technical features, but in-turn this has left the public feeling even more confused as to what shoe they should get. We hear your struggles and understand that you may also not be in expert hands when getting fitted. Hence we have created a shoe table (Updated 2015) that compares different shoe brands. Some may know what they require but others don’t. If you don’t , then see a podiatrist for an expert opinion. Selecting a shoe is not simply about your arch height or shape. It is actually a bit more complicated. Shoes vary in their shape, density, elevation pitch, cushion, and weight. Patients often ask me “What brand do you recommend ?” and I often reply ” Its not about what brand is the best, but what shoe is most suitable for you ?” . Podiatrist will determine the most suitable running shoe for a person by asking the following questions:

– What is the frequency, mileage, speed, surface of you running ?

-What injuries have you incurred in the past ?

-Do you have any current or past foot or leg pain ?

-What shoes are you currently wearing and why ?

-What is the weight and build of your body ?

-Are you using orthotics and why ?

Read more

Treatment of Plantar Warts (Verruca Pedis)

What are plantar warts?

Plantar warts (Verruca pedis), are contagious skin lesions that are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The lesions themselves are often only limited to the upper layers of the skin but with persistent infection can infiltrate deeper layers of the skin resulting in an increased level of discomfort. While warts can occur on many regions of the body, the ones that occur on the soles of the feet can become painful because of the actions of standing and walking.

What do plantar warts look like?

Plantar warts come in different varieties and can appear either individually or in clusters. The general appearance of warts resembles that of a cauliflower plant protruding from the skin. They can appear skin coloured making them harder to identify or covered by an overlying layer of thickened skin (callous) which adds to the discomfort when weight bearing. Some warts can have small brown or black dots which indicates small blood supply to the overlying viral tissue. Read more

Are you wearing the right shoes for Crossfit ?

CrossFit is a fitness phenomenon that has taken the athletic community by storm. It is a regimen of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensities within a communal environment.1 CrossFit incorporates a variety of exercises into daily workout routines. These exercises include biking, swimming, rowing, gymnastics and plyometrics to name a few. 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