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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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Has back pain zapped your energy? Left you feeling unable to perform everyday tasks? If you feel like back pain has taken over your life, you are not alone. According to a recent article from Ivanhoe News, Americans spend more than 50 million dollars per year on back pain treatment. And The American Chiropractic Association shows that 80% of the population will endure back pain and associated problems at some point during their lives. It’s important to understand the causes of back pain and ways to prevent it and/or heal it.

So what causes back pain? Some people experience back pain issues after an accident or fall of some kind. In that case, it’s important to see a doctor immediately. But most of us develop back pain problems from normal activity, including standing at work all day, sitting improperly at a desk for hours a day, and performing basic household chores. Even overworking your body in the gym or sticking to that routine walk or run takes a toll. Every step you take puts pressure on legs, hips and the spine. Overuse of the muscles puts added pressure and stress on the back.

Here are some common back pain symptoms:

  • Muscle Spasms
  • Burning muscle pain
  • Stiffness in joints and muscles
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Limited movement

How do you fight back? First and most importantly, allow yourself a day or two with limited mobility, providing your body the opportunity to recuperate. You can also alternate a heating pad and an ice pack to help with any possible swelling. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable supportive shoes when you are ready to return to a normal routine. Therapeutic insoles, of course we recommend Happy Feet®, can be worn for added comfort and pain relief, distributing weight evenly and absorbing impact with every massaging step. Good posture helps too, particularly if you sit or stand all day at work. Normal physical activity with ample rest days and a healthy diet help keep you at a comfortable weight, which can play a big part in keeping back pain at bay. Specific exercises for the back build strength and durability. You can find a variety of these at the American Pain Foundation, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the Mayo Clinic. Remember, if back pain persists, please consult a physician.

Have you recently experienced back pain problems? Found solutions that work for you? We’d love to hear from you.

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We all dream of emulating our favorite athletes on the football field, on the court, or on the ice. But it’s no fun to follow in the famous footsteps of sports stars who have been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, like New York Giants Aaron Ross an Eli Manning. With an injury like Plantar Fasciitis, an athlete can lose an entire season. Without the proper diagnosis and treatment, you too can find yourself plagued with constant pain and lose time from work and activities you enjoy most.

It’s important to understand your opponent before you can decide the best strategy to conquer the pain. Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, a connecting tissue stretching along the bottom of the foot.  Often, if their feet are X-rayed, people with plantar fasciitis will have a heel spur, or ridge of calcium formed off the heel bone, but it is not the cause of the pain:  the problem is the plantar fascia.  With constant pressure, such as long periods carrying large amounts of weight, often with uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes that do not suitably support the foot, plantar fasciitis may result, as the connective tissue along the base of the foot struggles with the constant stretching and tension under weight without rest.  Plantar fasciitis may also result from a sudden type of movement or athletic activity after periods of inactivity, such as a long walk after days at a desk.  Runners especially may suffer, given that they often race starting from a non-active position. 

For sufferers of plantar fasciitis, pain is most often felt at the bottom of the heel, but it can also occur in other areas of the foot, even “moving” to different areas on the same person’s foot.  The pain is often worst when first getting up for the day and may increase over time.  Knee pain is possible as well. 

The winning solution? Happy Feet® Insoles provide multiple benefits to lessen the pain of plantar fasciitis. The proper alignment offered by the insoles helps prevent plantar fasciitis pain caused by improper support in shoes, whether athletic activity is involved or not. The liquid gel evenly distributes weight under the foot, taking pressure away from those areas, such as the heel, that usually suffer more strain. No matter what type of shoe or how well it supports (or hurts) the wearer’s feet, Happy Feet® Insoles can provide relief.  For those already pained by plantar fasciitis, the consistent massaging action of Happy Feet® Insoles alleviates pain from the inflammation of the plantar fascia. After wearing your insoles for just a few weeks, your pain may subside, and you’ll be ready to get back in the game.

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