Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
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?
If the Shoe Fits…
Once upon a time, many years ago, I worked in the shoe section of a sports store. A good portion of people would come in with improper fitting shoes. Fast forward a few years past medical school and residency, and I now cringe, as a Podiatrist, knowing the effects of ill-fitting shoes. As many know, the advent of online shopping is here, henceforth, shoes are not being tried on prior to purchasing. With that being said, shoes can vary in size from brand to brand and even within the same brand when they are made at different factories. The following are some tips to help prevent discomfort, calluses, blisters, injuries and deformities:
1. Try shoes on at the end of the day when the feet are at their biggest.
2. Bring your own socks that you’d wear in the particular shoe you are shopping for, as well as any custom inserts.
3. If the shoe is not comfortable in the store, it will not be comfortable at work or on the court/track/field. Be true to yourself, in other words, just because the shoe is cute/cool doesn’t mean it’s the best option.
4. Have both feet measured in width and length and accommodate the bigger foot.
5. Walk and jog around the store. Be cognizant of comfort, that the arch hits you appropriately, and that your heel does not slip.
6. Give yourself enough room. Don’t be self-conscious of big feet and don’t try to squeeze into a shoe that you like because your size is not available. The width of a thumb nail should be available at the front of the shoe. For width, make sure your toes can spread and do not feel squished.
In the world of aching feet and improper fitting shoes, everyone followed Dr. Emter’s tips and people were more comfortable, much happier and they all lived happily ever after.
If your in need of some proper fitting shoes check out Happy Soles Footwear located at 1802 Allison Dr. Bismarck, ND 58501
The High Cost of Wearing High Heels
High heels are often a Podiatrist’s worst nightmare. Sure the “glass slipper” may fit, but the question to ask is what effects can heels have on my feet? Wearing a high heel can be associated with over a handful of deformities and conditions.
Neuroma: Everyone’s anatomy consists of a nerve bulb in our inner spaces that sends a little nerve to adjacent sides of each toe. These nerve bulbs can become compressed, enlarge and essentially scar down forming what is called a neuroma. This can be very painful and is often relieved when shoes are taken off.
Capsulitis: High heels cause the front of the foot to bear most of our weight. Excess weight and pressure on the forefoot can result in capsulitis, an inflammation of the soft tissue around the joints. People will relate that it feels like stepping on a rock or a wadded up sock.
Ingrown Toenails: High heels cause the foot to gravitate towards the front of the shoe, which is often much narrower. This results in squishing the toes together and increased pressure on the nail beds with the consequences of painful ingrown toenails.
Pump Bump: A haglunds deformity is often referred to as a pump bump due to its origin from wearing heels. The bump is a bony growth to the back of the heel that can be very irritating with the rubbing of shoe gear over the soft tissues covering the bone.
Stress Fractures and fractures: With all of the increased pressure placed on the front of the foot, wearing heels repetitively can set you up for a stress fracture. Heels also cause instability of the ankle allowing for sprains and at its worst, fractures.
Aside from the aforementioned complications of wearing high heels, there are numerous other problems not discussed that heels can cause your feet, not to mention your knees and spine. So, if the slipper fits, tell Prince Charming you’d rather wear a tennis shoe.
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