Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Foot Care Exercises

We tend to take our feet for granted until something goes wrong which is when we realize how important they are. That’s when we rush off to a foot specialist to get the conditions treated. It is important to appreciate that our feet are finely tuned pieces of biological engineering that give us flexibility, absorb shock, distribute body weight and provide balance and adapt to various surfaces when walking or running. As in all things, prevention is better than cure when it comes to looking after the feet. Regular manicures are not enough – they are merely cosmetic in nature. The best way to care for the feet is a regular foot hygiene regimen combined with daily foot exercise. Here are 7 simple ones that you can do in a few minutes a day and which will keep your feet strong and healthy.

7 Exercises

Your feet do not exist or function in isolation. They are connected to your calves via your ankles. This is why some exercise for the feet include working on calves and ankles.
  • Stand facing a wall with your feet planted flat on the floor and your legs straight. Now slowly move your knee back from the 12 o’clock position to 1 o’clock. Keep the movement going until you get a gentle stretching sensation in the upper calf. Hold this for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other foot. Do this 10 times for each foot.
  • Sit on the floor with your feet straight out in front of you. Use you right hand to hold your right toes and pull them back to till you feel the tension in your foot and calf. Count to 10 and release. Repeat this 10 times and then switch to the other foot.
  • While sitting, place a thick strong rubber band around the toes of one foot and try to spread them apart. Hold against the resistance for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Then do the same with the other foot. If one rubber band does not provide enough resistance, use 2 or more.
  • Spend 1 minute walking on your heels and then spend the same amount of time walking on your toes.
  • Place a medium sized marble or some other smooth round object of the same size on the floor. Pick it up with the toes of one foot and hold the marble for 20 seconds. Repeat this one more time and then switch to the other foot.
  • Sit in a chair and hold your leg straight out on front of you. Now try to write the alphabet in the air with your big toe. Allow your ankle to flex as much as it can. Now repeat this with the other foot.
  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your toes up and bring them down to tap on the floor, the way you do when you are tapping them to music. Repeat this 50 times and then switch to the other foot.
These are just a few basic foot exercises which will help to strengthen the feet, ankles and calves. There are many more that can be found online. If any exercise causes pain or discomfort stop doing it and try something else.

If you suffer from a specific problem of the feet, it will be best to consult a podiatrist who will be able to diagnose the exact nature and cause of the problem and recommend the medication and exercise that will be most effective in dealing with it. It is easy to take one’s feet for granted. But when foot problems arise, they can have a significant impact on the quality of one’s life.

Friday, 9 August 2013

What Happens When Foot Splinters are Left Untreated?

Splinters in the feet are among the most common of minor injuries. Every adult has suffered from this and every parent has removed them from his or her children’s feet.  Removing splinters from the feet is normally easy and there are a number of very effective home remedies to take care of the situation. But while a splinter in the foot is a common occurrence, it must be dealt with as soon as possible. If it is not attended to, this small irritant can become a major health hazard.

Foot Infections

The skin that covers the body is not only the largest human organ, it is the primary defense against infection. Any time there is even a minute break or puncturing of the skin, an opening for germs and bacteria to enter the body is created. And if anything remains in the break, the chances of infection increase. When the object in the wound is wood, things can become serious. Wood is organic which means that it is a natural habitat for bacteria which will enter the body. When bacteria enters the metabolism, it begins to multiply so that it can spread across the body. In a healthy person the immune system spots this problem and sends white blood cells to the infected area to kill the bacteria and stop the infection from spreading. At times the body may be able to destroy the potential infection. At times it may not. But the fact that the source of the infection remains in the body increases the severity of the problem and the chances of the condition worsening.

Even if the immune system is able to isolate and contain the infection, the area can become swollen and painful and be filled with pus. This is often referred to as an abscess. Once this happens a visit to the doctor is required to drain the pus so that the infected area can heal and also to finally remove the splinter from the foot. The doctor may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics to eradicate the infection.

The bottom line is that splinters should be removed from the foot ASAP. The area should be washed with soap and water before and after removal and a normal non-prescription antibiotic cream applied, even if the break in the skin is minute. In most cases this is all that is required. But if the pain or irritation continues or if the area becomes red and / or swollen, a doctor should be consulted because it is likely that a portion of the splinter still remains in the skin or that an infection has set in.

Symptoms And Types Of Splinters

A minute splinter may not cause any noticeable pain but the area where it punctured the skin will usually show some redness and be tender to the touch. If the splinter is in the bottom of the foot, the wound will normally be painful when weight is placed on it.

There are various types of splinter that can enter the body.  While wooden splinter are the most common, they can also be:
  •    Organic: Cactus splines, thorns, toothpicks etc.
  •    Metallic: nails, needles, pins, tacks etc.
  •    Fiberglass pieces, fishhooks, bits of glass, plastic and other similar objects.
Do not ignore a splinter in the foot or any other part of the body. They can usually be easily removed. But if they are allowed to remain in the skin the simple problem can get very complicated.