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by Guest Blogger Rose Caillier, DPM

Occasional swollen feet and ankles are quite common and often do not pose much concern.   Whether it is due to a strenuous exercise or a long day of shopping, increased daily activities on the feet can lead to accumulation of fluid called edema.   Normally, blood flow along with muscle contraction pushes blood in one direction from our feet back to the heart.  But when valves in the veins do not work properly, fluid can back up and pool around the feet and ankles.

Swelling in the feet and ankles is also a common finding in pregnancy.  Increase in blood volume along with a growing fetus puts pressure on the veins causing fluid to be pushed out into the surrounding tissues.

Here are some things a person can do to help reduce swelling in the feet and ankles. 

Move the Feet.  Standing and sitting for long periods of time (like during airplane flights and car rides) does not allow the muscles to actively pump blood in the veins.  Stretch the legs, take walks down the aisle, or flex the feet up and down several times to keep moving.  A simple exercise is to trace the alphabet in the air with the feet.

Elevate the Legs.  When sitting, the feet should be propped up on a chair or stool.  Allowing the legs to hang down allows gravity to further collect fluid around the feet and ankles.  While lying down, a pillow placed under the heels or legs can keep the feet elevated.

Apply Compression.  Support stockings found at most drug stores help control swelling.  If they are not worn to sleep with, they should be applied first thing in the morning even before getting out of bed.

Get a Massage.  A Foot massage can be soothing and helpful.   Just a 5-10 minute foot massage per day can help stimulate circulation.

Consult a Doctor.  Feet that stay swollen can be a sign of serious medical conditions like heart, kidney, or liver failure.  Other causes of swollen feet and ankles include: being overweight, increased age, infection, sprain/strain or fracture, a blood clot in the leg, and side-effects of certain medications.  The doctor may even prescribe medications to help the body eliminate excess fluid and recommend a diet low in sodium.

Since a swollen foot can be a symptom of an underlying problem, it is wise to determine its cause particularly if there is pain or other areas of the body swells.  People who have loss of feeling in the feet, like a person with diabetic neuropathy, should seek medical attention right away if swelling occurs.   Otherwise, keeping an active lifestyle with regular exercise and proper nutrition will help maintain good circulation.

 

Rose Caillier, DPM, is a board certified podiatrist who has written for Podiatry Management magazine, is a contributing writer for The National Podiatric Medical Association’s newsletter Footnotes, and maintains her own blog at www.FootScribe.com. You can connect with Rose on Twitter; her handle is @FootScribe.

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Guest Blogger: Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman

I frequently get asked by my patients, “Why did I develop this rash on my foot?”  More often than not, they have Contact Dermatitis.  Contact Dermatitis is inflammation caused by direct skin contact with an irritating substance or allergen (allergic reaction).  This is different from an allergic reaction to medications.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis, the most common type, results from direct skin contact with acids, soaps, detergents, leather dye, or other chemicals and does not require a prior sensitization.  The reaction often resembles a rash or burn. Allergic Contact Dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction that appears 24-48 hours after the exposure.

The reaction varies from a mild irritation and redness to open sores or very small blisters and may vary in the same person over time.  A history of any type of allergy increases the risk for this condition.
The diagnosis is usually based on the skin appearance and a history of exposure to a new product, such as soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, or other irritant.  Treatments include removal and avoidance of the offending agent, topical corticosteroids or in severe cases oral steroids.  If you see this or something unusual, you will want to contact your physician right away for treatment.  Contact Dermatitis is quite common but if left untreated can lead to infections or other problems.  Quick treatment is a key to getting rid of the problem. 

To learn more about foot health, you can visit Houston Foot Specialists. You can also connect with Dr. Bowman on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Jeffrey N. Bowman, DPM, MS
Houston Foot Specialists
Past President, Texas Podiatric Medical Association
Board Member, Texas Podiatric Medical Association
Houston, Tx. 77043

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Gaga has the Grammys, Firth has the Oscars, and Happy Feet has the Choice Awards. Recently selected as a Choice Awards product winner, Happy Feet shined at this year’s National Hardware Show.

A recent comment from NRHA’s vice president Scott Wright stresses the significance of this award, “New products are the lifeblood of the industry. The Retailers’ Choice Awards program recognizes the top products each year at the National Hardware Show® that demonstrate strong sales potential at retail. The award also creates a strong bond between retailers and manufacturers due to the fact that retailers choose the winners.”

Other winners at this year’s show included College Duck Tape from Duck Tape, 360 Grill from Blacktop and Ready-to-eat meals from GoPicnic. Key elements of chosen winners include products that display innovation, great sales, and business potential for retailers.

“We are very proud to have been chosen for this award. As a made in America product we are always striving to keep our work force pain-free and comfortably on their feet for as long as they need to be,” says Annette Salamone, Vice President of Marketing, Happy Feet USA, Inc. “We look forward to The Hardware Show each year.  The attendees are a group of hard-working, on their feet, individuals and it makes us happy to be able to put smiles on their faces.”

Read more about the “latest and greatest” products, like Happy Feet Insoles, in the Hardware Retailing July issue.

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Funky Town

Does a dark cloud appear the minute you step out of your shoes? Can you clear a room faster than Merry Maids? When someone asks what’s that smell, is it you?

Foot odor is actually a common problem. According to ePodiatry, foot odor can be caused by stress, hyperhidrosis, and hormonal changes. With a few simple solutions, you can tone down the funk and tell that pesky, embarrassing odor—smell ya later.

  • Rotate your shoes. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day no matter how many compliments they bring.  
  • Wash your feet daily, especially in between toes.
  • Give feet a break and go barefoot when you can, allowing feet to breathe in a little fresh air.
  • Wash insoles (including your Happy Feet Insoles & then air dry) on a regular basis.
  • Try deodorant. Yep, it’s not just for your pits anymore.

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Agony of de Feet

Let’s face it, when we slather on the sunscreen we’re talking backs, arms, legs—ignoring our feet altogether, a thoughtless act that results in days and nights with agony of de feet. On a recent Saturday morning, I stretched out on my rooftop with a favorite book and an ice cold drink. The sun darted in and out of the clouds for hours, and I welcomed the cool breeze.

Later in the evening as I was showering and readying for dinner out on the town, I noticed an unusual pain in both of my feet, just on the tops. Bright red, burning like fire, my feet stung—a slow but evolving sunburn yielding its angry face. Within an hour the swelling started and before bed, I downed ibuprofen, seeking some sort of a reprieve.

Our feet are tender on top and if exposed to the sun for lengthy periods of time, prone to serious sunburn. According to the CDC, you should apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and take breaks in the shade throughout the day. And don’t let the clouds fool you. Even on a cloudy day, you can develop severe sunburn.

Even with the intense pain, my feet didn’t blister. If you do find yourself with blisters in the sun, you should not break them but cover with gauze. CDC encourages everyone to seek medical attention if severe pain lasts for more than 48 hours.

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New York City is the land of walking. It is pretty impossible to get around the city without walking daily. If you’re a New Yorker, you probably don’t even think about it until you have visitors come to town and they’re complaining after walking only a fraction of the distance that you don’t even think twice about.

I have been a New Yorker for almost 25 years now, and I am still amazed at how many people I see walking the city streets in high heels! It is because we’re talking about NYC that I say people” instead of “women” :-).

As a fitness trainer and body worker, I cringe when I see these high-heeled lovelies walking block after block in their stilettos.  I get sympathy pains all the way up to my neck. People do not realize just how connected their feet are to the rest of their bodies.

Of course, nothing makes your legs look more gorgeous than a pair of fabulous heels, so it’s not surprising that people make the sacrifice. Fortunately, there is a way to counteract the stiletto damage.  Stimulating specific points on the feet with direct pressure, you can mobilize the joints and rejuvenate them with essential fluid. And not only can you increase the ease of mobility in your feet, you can improve the neural connection between your feet and the other systems of your body.

Ok, you’re thinking . . . can you please give me some more details about how to make this happen. What I’m describing is the MELT foot treatment, specifically, position point pressing with the MELT balls on your feet. I have been a MELT instructor for quite a while now, and I continue to experience amazing changes with my clients after only 20 minutes of MELTing their feet.

Everyone needs to stimulate the tissue in their feet, not just stiletto wearing New Yorkers! Some of the specific changes that MELTing your feet can solicit are:

– reduced foot pain

 -balanced arches

 -reduced low back pain

 -reduced leg tension

 -reduced pressure in the head

 -over time, breathing capacity, jaw pain, migraines, gut issues and common foot dysfunctions improve

Go to meltmethod.com to learn more about the method, and where to find an instructor near you. You will be so happy when you learn how to MELT your feet! And then you will learn to MELT the rest of your body, and hydrate your connective tissue! But be warned – you will very likely become addicted to feeling fabulous and pain-free – with or without your stilettos :-).

Denise Raimi has been working in the health and wellness industry as a fitness trainer and body worker for over twenty-five years. She is a Pilates teacher, a Body Rolling and Body Logic practitioner, and a MELT instructor. As a nutritional cleansing coach, Denise has been able to help her clients reach their optimal performance levels by working on their health from the inside out. She has helped many people make dramatic, positive changes in their lives.

You can follow Denise on Facebook and Twitter. Visit her website at DR-Cleanse.com for invaluable resources and information on cleansing and optimal health and wellness.

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Your wedding day should be remembered as one of the most treasured moments of your life. But all too many brides-to-be ignore the impact of wearing uncomfortable attire, more specifically shoes, while tying the knot and then toasting the night away.  But you can make a vow to enjoy your reception from head to toe. As one new bride suggests, “it makes way more sense (and is way more fun) to change shoes between ceremony and reception than to change dresses.”

Catherine Fletcher married Adam, the love of her life, this past April. From start to finish, Cat donned the wedding planner hat, or veil in this case, and planned out every tiny detail, right down to the homemade cookies—a beloved Italian family recipe handed down for generations—placed on all the reception tables.  A marriage of romance and practicality, The Fletcher wedding day event appeared effortless, a flawless, lovely, and comfortable celebration for everyone, including the bride, who fluttered around the reception like the belle of the ball.

For the actual wedding, Cat wore a stunning pair of hot pink heels. “I originally bought the pink ruffled heels when I thought I was going to be wearing a much simpler dress,” Cat says. “I felt like I needed something to dress it up with. Then, even after my dress choice changed, i couldn’t walk away from them because they were just too spectacular, and how often is it that you get to wear the loudest shoes that you want without anyone saying anything to you about it? I wanted something that was bright, fun, and sexy all at the same time.” She stole the show in those shoes.

After walking down the aisle, hand in hand, with her new husband, Cat changed into her second set of wedding shoes—her reception flats, you know, just a simple pair of Vera Wang slippers. “For the reception, I knew that I was going to be doing a lot of walking (to greet all of the guests) and dancing,” Cat says, “so I wanted to be comfortable. My dress also made me feel like a Cinderella princess, and the Vera Wang shoes with the crystal encrusted peep toe were the perfect blend of modernity with the classic image of a glass slipper.”

“As far as foot care, Aubrey and I went to have drinks and pedicures the day before the wedding as a special Matron of Honor and Bride date. It was very relaxing–a great way to de-stress and take the time to remind yourself what this whole big party is really about.”

Photos courtesy of Erin Kate Photography.

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