Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
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Painful Working Feet
Whether you are a hair dresser, teacher, carpenter, mechanic or nurse, you all have one thing in common. Painful feet. In fact, anyone who stands a good portion of the day is more prone to foot problems and pain. The feet take more pressure from your body than any other joints in your body.
Overuse syndrome is typically the culprit of painful feet after being on them for hours at a time. It is a generalized term describing achiness of the feet. Sometimes, however, overuse syndrome can develop into a bigger problem such as plantar fasciitis or injuries due to compensating for tired, painful feet. A few pre-cautionary measures can be taken to avoid and or help soothe achy feet.
1. Compression stockings. Compression stockings are not just for expecting moms or people with varicose veins. Compression stockings help improve circulation of the legs and driving fluid back to the heart. Your legs and feet do not feel as tired at the end of the day as a result of wearing stockings.
2. Padded mats. Anti-fatigue mats can be beneficial if you stand in one place all day. These mats help encourage redistribution of pressure causing contraction and relaxation of muscles.
3. Comfortable shoes. Business women often wear heels to work. A heel of 2 ½ inches can increase the weight on the front of the foot by 75%. Regardless of career, shoes should have good arch support. If the shoe isn’t comfortable in the store, it will not be comfortable at work.
4. Stretch. Stretching helps re-distribute blood flow to muscles and can help take away the tension and achiness.
5. Inserts. Adding an insert in your shoe for added padding, shock absorption & arch support may be beneficial and help with fatigue of the feet.
They often say that you should love what you do when it comes to your job, but that can be hard when at the end of the day you can no longer tolerate being on your feet. Take these few preventative measures and stay one step ahead of pain, fatigue and injury!
Avoiding Common Obstacles after Foot Surgery
I frequently tell patients that foot surgery gets a bad rap. First off, patients have a hard time fathoming staying off their feet for such a prolonged period. Secondly, a lot of people hear horror stories of how painful foot surgery is. In all reality, noncompliance is often the underlying denominator for a really painful post-op period. Of value are the following tips to help the post op period go seamless.
1. Swelling/Pain. Icing and elevating is probably the single most important part of your post-operative period. The body’s natural reaction to something that has been injured/operated on is an initial inflammatory period causing blood to rush to the operative extremity. This sequentially causes swelling and a grueling throbbing pain. Elevation helps defy gravity and reduces the amount of blood flow/swelling to the operative foot. Icing also helps with the amount of blood flow and inflammation to the foot by constricting the blood vessels. If icing and elevation instructions are not abided by, you are likely to end up with a constricting bandage and a swollen, painful foot. We have found that ice machines have been a life saver for our patients, allowing for less leaks, eliminating the number of times of getting up for ice and improved compliance and less swelling as a result!
2. Sleep. Often times there will be a period of sleeping in a splint or a cast boot which makes it difficult to find a comfortable position as you toss and turn and get irreversibly stuck in your sheets and blankets. One trick that has been found to help is placing a box under the sheets & blankets that you can place your foot inside allowing for you to move a little bit more freely.
3. Mobility. Getting around after surgery can be tough, especially for the procedures that require non-weight bearing. Often time crutches can be very wearing when it comes to the amount of energy they require to use, not to mention wearing on the skin too. A lot of people will complain of armpit pain and sometimes blisters of the hands. One way to reduce the friction is to cut up a pool noodle and place it over the handles and arm rests. One way to avoid crutches all together, however is to try a scooter or the new innovative IWALK. Both require a sense of balance, but may allow for easier mobility.
4. Bathing. In most cases, the surgical bandage should not get wet the first week post-operatively. I specifically remember, after breaking my arm, fiddling with garbage bags and rubber bands that failed me in the end. Ultimately, the easiest way to avoid wet bandages is by sponge bathing the first week though I know this isn’t an option for some people. The next best option is to place a bag over the bandage and wind an ace wrap over the top of the bag, though you can also purchase cast protectors that have proven to be the next best thing since sliced bread.
Foot surgery can be a lot more tolerable by avoiding common obstacles. Keep these helpful hints in mind to allow for a smoother/quicker recovery. If you are thinking about foot surgery, Contact Us to schedule an appointment to find out if it is right for you.
Foot Surgery Preparation
No one realizes how much they depend on their feet to do activities of daily living until they are laid up after foot surgery. Preparation for surgery is instrumental to ensure your recovery is successful and more tolerable. Having had foot surgery in the past, I can vouch for how important it is to make sure everything is set up in advance. Here are a few tips I have to offer you:
You will not want to leave the house (nor should you) for the first week or so nor will you want to be up and about. Your foot will be the first thing to remind you of this as blood will rush to the operative site and cause swelling and a throbbing pain when you are up. To avoid this there are a few things you can do in advance.
1. Meal plan, prep and purchase groceries in advance. Don’t forget to purchase ice for post op swelling!
2. Prepare activities to occupy your time whether it is books, movies, sewing supplies, or hobbies that can be done while you’re reclined. I really enjoyed coloring when I was laid up. It helped pass the time and was actually relaxing, besides they have some really neat adult coloring books these days!
3. Arrange your house accordingly. Move any objects in the way of getting to and from the couch/bed. Remove any rugs that may be a fall hazard or things in a narrow hallway that you won’t want to dodge with crutches, walker, knee scooter or wheelchair. If your bedroom isn’t on the main level, you may want to consider bringing a mattress to the main level until you have the go ahead to go up and down stairs. Purchasing a removable shower head may be beneficial. Oftentimes, we ask that you don’t get the foot wet for a couple weeks. A shower head helps you more easily direct where the water is sprayed. Another thing that may be beneficial is a shower chair to avoid any falls while you are supposed to be off your foot.
4. Set up your own little recovery nook. Have everything beside you that you could possibly need including the remote, cell phone and charger, pillows for elevation, snacks, Kleenexes, medication, pen and paper, etc.
Maybe this list sounds like overkill, but you will soon find that you’re thanking yourself for preparing beforehand! One more thing, if you have that luxury, don’t forget the little bell beside your recliner so you can be waited on hand and FOOT!
Pedicures are often enjoyable and allow for a little rest and relaxation that is often well deserved. As a result pedicures should be a worry free experience; however there are numerous issues that can arise from having pedicures that you ought to be aware of prior to scheduling your next visit.
1. Sure, we all want to save ourselves from embarrassment and get rid of that stubble on our legs prior to our pedicure, but in all reality you may be causing yourself more harm by shaving the day before or day of the appointment. Shaving can cause openings in the skin and hair follicles allowing for the entry of bacteria. This is not only painful when they seemingly grind their exfoliating sand scrub into your fresh shaved legs, but can also cause an infection of the hair follicle, called folliculitis.
2. Contrary to what most people believe looks best, the toenail should be cut straight across rather than rounded at the edges. Allowing for the edges to be trimmed back too far can result in ingrown toenails as well as entry of bacteria to the nail bed causing infection.
3. Chances are if you’re going to the nail salon, you’re looking for cute, fresh polished nails. Unfortunately, your nails may not be cute for long if you opt to go to a salon that doesn’t sterilize their tools. Nail fungus can be transferred between clients and cause thick, yellow nails with debris beneath the nail beds. The best way to avoid this is to be sure that the tools are sterilized, or even better, go to a salon that requires a onetime purchase of your own tools.
4. Removing nail polish routinely rather than leaving it on for months at a time allows for the nail to “breathe” and prevents the formation of nail fungus. Take your nail polish off a few days before the next application.
5. Diabetics must always be cautious about pedicures as many nail technicians aren’t educated about the disease process. Because diabetics can’t fight off infection as well as a non-diabetic, their chances of getting an infection from a visit to the nail salon is much higher. A good portion of diabetics don’t have feeling to their feet and can develop burns from the water and hot towels that are used.
Now that you are well equipped to make informed decisions about your choice of nail salon, I wish for you a rest, relaxation, and pretty piggy’s!
Diehard runners brave the frigid temperatures to get some fresh air and exercise but as a result are at a higher risk of injuries. Here are a few tips to help brave winter running safely.
Frostbite is an imminent risk to anyone who is outdoors in subzero temperatures, but especially to runners who wear mesh running shoes. Mesh poses the danger of allowing the foot to get wet and when exposed to cold air can cause tissue damage. When shopping for winter running shoes, aim for shoes that have a solid upper and are water proof, for example, Goretex.
Socks are another important player in keeping the feet dry. Feet sweat during exercise (not a surprise when each foot has approximately 250,000 sweat glands) and can produce the moist environment that can predispose you to frostbite. Purchase moisture wicking socks that have the ability to keep your feet warm to help alleviate this problem.
Ice is hard to avoid on trails, especially after a thaw and refreeze. Numerous forms of cleats/tracks exist that are specific to winter running. These can prevent falls that may land you in the clinic or emergency room.
Stretching prior to work outs is more important than ever when going for a run in the chilly winter weather. The purpose of stretching is to warm up the joints and reduce muscle tension. Without stretching, fractures, sprains and strains are more likely to occur.
For those of you who refuse to hibernate from running during the winter, I hope these simple tricks keep you on your feet and injury free.
If you are injured while running give us a call at 701-255-3338 to request an Appointment today!