Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Basics of Foot Hygiene

Most people (this includes both men and women) take good care of their hands. This is because the hands are essential of almost every action that is taken and also because they are always on display, to be seen by others. Dirty, calloused, damaged or otherwise unattractive hands are not things that a person can be proud of. But what about the feet? They function in a way similar to the hands, but are subject to far more stress and pressure. And because they are rarely seen boy other, they are often neglected. Remember foot hygiene is not just so that they look nice. It is a matter of keeping them healthy so that they are free from diseases and infections.

Ways to Clean Feet
  • Use a foot file or pumice stone to rub off all the dry, chapped and hard skin of the feet.
  • Then soak the feet in warm water and scrub them again. Do not stop the soaking.
  • Wash the feet from the ankles down to the toenails.
  • Use a nail brush (or even an old toothbrush) to scrub on, around and under the edge of the toenails.
  • Do all this slowly so that your feet have time to soak. It’s a nice relaxing feeling so why hurry?
  • When you have done with the soaking, take a soft towel and gently pat the feet dry. Do not rub them and do not pat them excessively. The feet should remain a little moist so they do not start to chap again.
  • The only areas that should be dried completely are the spaces between the toes. Leaving these places damp could lead to fungus infections.
  • Now you are ready to massage your feet. If you don’t have foot lotion, don’t worry. Yogurt, warm milk, lemon juice or olive oil will do just fine. Massage your feet slowly and gently, being sure not to leave out any areas, except the spaces between they toes which must remain dry. Take your time and enjoy it.
  • If you have massaged your feet with lotion or olive oil, leave it on - it’s good for the skin. But if you have used yogurt or anything else, rinse it off when the massage is over.
  • Now is the time to apply lotion. It doesn’t matter if its foot or hand lotion. Read the bottle to see what the lotion does. When it comes to lotions, the most expensive one are not always the best. If trying a new lotion rub a little on your wrist and wait for a day to see if there is any adverse reaction. Rub the lotion all over the feet, including the back of the feet, the soles, the heels and the ankles.
  • Take a brush and clean under the toenails again. Then use a toenail clipper to trim the nails. Do not cut the nails so short that it is painful. Make sure that the nails are all cut to the same length and shape with no rough edges that could catch and cause the nail to tear. Do not cut the nails in a curve. Keeping the edges in a straight line is the best.
That’s it – your feet are now clean and nice. You do not have to do this every day. But a regular cleaning, soaking, massaging and nail trimming regimen will ensure that you have feet that you can be proud of – whether or not anyone else sees them.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

When Should You See a Podiatrist - Part 2

  • Pain that lasts for over 24 hours. A major foot pain that lasts for over 24 hours is usually a sign of a serious medical condition. This is especially true for those who have recently had a surgical procedure performed on or near the feet. Among the many cause of this kind of lasting pain are Deep Vein Thrombosis, (DVT), Compartment Syndrome which is an increase in pressure in a part (or compartment) of a foot, infection or even a dressing that is too tight. Treating the pain is not the major issue. Finding out what is causing it is.
  • Foot pain when the legs are elevated. Pain in the feet when the legs are elevated; this could be a sign of decreased blood flow or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). This is a type of atherosclerosis which happens arteries become clogged with plaque that cause the blood flow to the limbs – often the legs and feet – to become restricted. If untreated PAD can lead to gangrene or strokes.
  • A suddenly developing deformity.Charcot arthropathy refers to a condition often found in diabetes patients. The symptoms include pain, redness and a hot swollen feeling in the foot. This condition can cause the bones to break or slip out of place. If not diagnosed in time and treatment delivered promptly, the bones may heal in the wrong position, causing the deformity.
  • A mole that changes shape. A mole on the foot that has an odd shape or that keeps changing its shape or size, bleeds often or keeps changing it color should be shown to a doctor immediately. Any of these symptoms could be there early sings of melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer. The mole should be shown to a foot doctor who will then refer you to a dermatologist of other specialist as required.
  • One flat foot. If the arch of one foot becomes less curved that the other and appears to be like a flat foot, it could be a sign of tendon damage or even a ruptured tendon. Besides the needs to treat the tendon itself, another issue is that of the effect that a damaged tendon can have on the bones of the foot. A tendon that is not functioning as it could cause the bones to get out of alignment. This in turn can lead to the development of arthritis in the joints. The earlier such conditions are treated, the lesser the chances of other related problems developing.
  • A lump in the foot.A lump or bump on the foot that is painful and continues to grow should be shown to a podiatrist as the earliest. It could be a cyst that will need to be removed. It could also be something more serious like tumor that will need to be removed. Tumors of the feet are rare but the do occur.
Because of the load they carry and the stress and strain that is placed on them, the feet are subject to considerable wear and tear over a lifetime. Add to this the possibilities of injury, exercise related problems and conditions in other parts of the body that affect the foot. If any of the conditions described above occur or there is any other condition of the foot that causes concern, go to a foot specialist immediately. Early treatment is the key to preventing a small problem from becoming a big one