Thursday, 27 March 2014

When Should You See a Podiatrist - Part 1

Foot injuries are common and everyone suffers from the occasional bout of foot and ankle pain, soreness and sprains. In most cases time, rest, icing or warm foot baths and a pair of new shoes will take care of the problems. But once in a while the conditions might lead you to see a podiatrist. Many people think that it is silly to go to a specialist for a seemingly minor problem. But a minor issue could be the first stage of a problem. And the earlier it is diagnosed and treatment begun, the faster the recovery. Also there are medical conditions that affect the other parts of the body first show up in the feet. Here are a few of the many conditions which should make you think seriously about consulting a podiatrist.
  • A wound or sore that will not go away. Any wound or sore that does not begin to show signs of healing quickly is a cause for concern. This is especially true if you are suffering from diabetes because this condition will slow down the healing process. A wound or sore that remains open for a long time increases your chances of getting a skin or even a bone infection – Osteomyelitis. When this happens the infection can be carried by the blood to other parts of the body, resulting in a variety of serious medical conditions. These are conditions that could incapacitate you for an extended period of time.
  • A discolored foot. Your feet are supposed to be the same color. If you find that one foot has changed its color, there could be a problem. If the foot is pale or unusually white in color, it could be a sign of low blood circulation. Blue or purple could be a sign of a vein problem. And redness may be a sign of gout (a common and usually very painful form of arthritis) or an infection. The earlier the foot is examined by a specialist the better.
  • Numb feet. Numbness and/or burning or a tingling sensation could be an indication of neuropathy which is a condition resulting in decreased sensation in the feet. This can be a symptom of diabetes. Neuropathy is a condition that increases the chances of developing ulcers of the feet.
  • Activity related pain. If you suffer from repeated pain that increases in severity after any kind of activity that puts stress on the feet, it could be a sign of a stress fracture. This happens when the foot is overused and the muscles become so fatigued or overstressed that they can no longer absorb the stress and shock caused by the activity. Because the muscles cannot absorb the stress it is transferred to the nearby bone or bones which are not meant to handle this pressure. The result is a small fracture that will normally result in a degree of pain that increases as the stress on the bone grows. If not detected and treated early, the condition can worsen resulting in problems with the movement of the foot and overall mobility.
Pain and/or swelling in one foot. Having pain and/or swelling in one foot while the other has no such problems are not normal. This could be a sign of an infection of the foot, tendon damage, tendonitis or a broken bone. This is a condition that calls for a visit to the podiatrist.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

After a Foot Tattoo

It seems that everyone is getting tattoos these days. And while there is literally no part of the body that someone, somewhere has not had tattooed, the feet were often overlooked. Until now, that is. Feet tattoos are becoming very popular and the two main reasons for this are the subtlety of the location and the fact that a tattoo can highlight the beauty of this often ignored part of the body. There are certain standard care procedures and precautions to be taken after getting a tattoo, and the same do, by and large, apply to the feet as well. However, there are few additional considerations in the case of foot tattoos that it would not be wise to ignore, if you are planning on tattooed feet.
  • If you are planning on getting both feet tattooed, do them one at a time. Walking after a tattoo can be difficult for a day or two and having a ‘good foot’ to take the extra strain will speed up the recovery process. Only if the tattoos are very tiny should both feet be tattooed at the same time.
  • Find out from the person who will be doing the tattoo about the restrictions and how long they have to be observed. Then make your schedule accordingly, so you do not have to walk around during the recovery period. Ensure that you have loose flip flops to wear while staying home.
  • Have a friend take you for the tattoo. It’s not a matter of needing moral support- although for some folks that can be a great help. The friend will be required to drive you home incase the new tattoo makes driving difficult.
  • Swelling of the freshly tattooed area is common. As soon as you get home elevate the affected foot and dab some ice cubes as often as possible. This will reduce the pain and swelling too.
  • You may have to go back to work before the healing process is complete. If you have a desk job, sitting down all day, your feet might swell up. Try to find a way of occasionally elevating your foot –at least 5 minutes in an hour should help with the swelling. If your job requires a lot of walking around, that too can lead to swelling and pain. In this case also, sitting down and elevating your foot will help.
  • Funny as it may sound, drinking a lot of fluids will help reduce the water retention that exacerbates the swelling of the feet. Also try to reduce your sodium intake until the swelling and pain are completely gone.
  • Do not wear shoes that apply pressure over the new tattoo. This will increase the irritation and the pain.
  • Don’t expect a linear reduction of the pain, swelling and discomfort. There will be times when the feet feel fine and other when there are swollen and painful. This is normal and the discomfort will fade away naturally in a few days.
With normal precautions recovering from a foot tattoo should not be a long or difficult process. However, if the pain and swelling appear to be abnormal consult a podiatrist to check is everything is okay. Ignoring persistent problems after getting a foot tattoo can lead to a variety of complications that could affect the overall health. A foot doctor will be able to diagnose and treat any complications and prevent the situation from getting worse.