Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
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!
This Little Piggy Went to the Shoe Store. Shopping for Children’s Shoes
Purchasing new shoes for your child may seem like a nuisance, especially when they hit growth spurts and are in need of new shoes before the old ones are even worn out. Or perhaps you have one of those kids who has half the sole worn off or a part of the shoe blown out in no time. Though shoes can be pricy, the process of purchasing a shoe should not be a headache.
1. Make sure your child is along during the shopping excursion and gets his/her feet sized. Their feet grow fast and sometimes grow more than a half a size between purchasing the last pair of shoes.
2. Different brands can vary in size, so be sure that they try the shoe on prior to purchasing as one size in one brand may not be appropriate for the next.
3. Purchase age appropriate shoes. A toddler who is just beginning to walk should have a soft soled shoe vs a hard one. Their proprioception or sense of position is highly dependent on them being able to feel the ground which is much more difficult to do with hard soled shoes. Imagine just learning how to knit and your hands are learning their positions. Now imagine having to wear oven mitts while doing this. It makes the task much more difficult.
4. Another tip is to trace your child’s foot on a piece of paper and cut it out. If you take out the factory insole and place the cut out on top of it, there should be approximately a half an inch between the end of the insole and the cut out. This is also what you are looking for when you feel for their toe through the shoe.
5. Some children have one foot that is bigger than the other. Always accommodate the bigger foot when purchasing shoes.
6. Bring any inserts along that the child wears in their shoes for sizing. These often take up a little bit of room in the shoes and may require going up in size.
No one told us when having kids that not only should we have a college fund, but a shoe fund too. With that being said having appropriately sized shoes for your kiddo’s feet is very important and can prevent injuries and deformities that would only be a kick in the pocket book!
If you are not sure your child is wearing correct fitting shoes stop by Happy Soles Footwearand we can check them out.
Dry, Cracked Feet
If it looks like a winter snow storm upon removal of your socks due to dead dry skin particles or your partner tells you to stop rubbing your rough feet against him/her in bed, chances are the arid winter air has probably got the best of your feet. Winter is notorious for causing dry skin and cracks in your heels. Not only can cracks in the heels/skin be painful, but can also be hazardous for some folks. Any break in the skin, including cracks in the heels can become infected with bacteria or even a virus. This can potentially be detrimental in a healthy individual, let alone someone that has a harder time fighting off infection such as a diabetic.
Other than the dry winter weather, there are numerous other things that can contribute to dry skin, for example;
1. Going barefoot or consistently wearing sandals can be a contributing factor.
2. Another thing that influences dry skin is either not using a skin moisturizer or using one that has alcohol as one of the main ingredients. Alcohol is a drying agent and is contained within many of those pretty smelling lotions that we are more apt to use because of their scent.
3. Body wash can also be another instigator for drying out the skin. A harsh body wash removes the natural oils from the skin that help keep it hydrated.
4. Nothing feels better than a hot shower/bath during the dead of winter, but is also another culprit for drying out the skin.
The best time to work on dead skin, particularly the heels, is after bathing when the skin is at its softest. Use a pumice stone to gently remove dead skin and apply moisturizer after this. Another tip is to wear socks to bed after using a moisturizer to help lock moisture into the feet. Consistency and massaging into the feet is also key to regaining your soft, silky skin. And if you’re lucky your partner will volunteer to massage your feet during your lotion application…hey, we all can dream, right?
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