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Posts Tagged ‘Foot’

WebMD – You Asked! Expert A’s to Your Beauty Q’s: Pretty Feet

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

Step into spring with our expert picks for softer, more radiant feet.
By Ayren Jackson-Cannady
WebMD the Magazine – Feature
Reviewed by Karyn Grossman, MD

In each issue of WebMD the Magazine, our experts answer your questions aboutskin care, beauty, makeup, hair care, and more. In our March-April 2011 issue, Daphne LaSalle, 30, who lives on the U.S. Air Force Base in Altus, Okla., asked about beautifying her feet for summer. We ran her question by two doctors: Eric Reynolds, DPM, a podiatrist in Jersey City, N.J., and Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, who is co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C., as well as an assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: What can I do now to get my feet soft and ready to show off by sandal season?

Tanzi’s top picks:

A: Thick, dry patches pop up on heels during winter months because feet are often crammed into heavy socks and boots that don’t allow for effective exfoliation of dead skin. To loosen up that scaly epidermis, use a nightly cream likeDr. Scholl’s Ultra Overnight Foot Cream($6.99), containing aloe and palm oil to soothe tough skin.

To buff the dead skin away once it’s been softened, try the PedEgg Pro Pedicure Foot File with Handle ($12.99). It’s better than a pumice stone for gently sanding down thick skin on the heel and ball of the foot because its stainless-steel micro files stay sharp. Once the bottoms of your feet are smooth, keep them hydrated with an emollient-rich lotion likeL’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream ($26), which is packed with moisture-locking shea butter.

If you painted your toes in rich, dark hues throughout the winter, you may be noticing some nail yellowing. Take a break from polish for a week or two, and the discoloration will slowly fade. Once you’re back to coating your toenails in polish, be sure to start with a clear base coat without formaldehyde, a chemical that can react with the keratin protein in nails and make them change colors. The formaldehyde-free OPI Start-to-Finish Base & Top Coat ($12.50) is a good one to try.

Reynolds’s top picks:

A: During winter months when humidity is low, skin dries out more rapidly. In some cases, feet get so dry they peel or crack. While there are plenty of prescriptionmedications that work wonders, I like to start with home remedies, which are inexpensive and can be just as effective.

To soften super-dry areas, soak your feet in original Listerine AntisepticMouthwash ($4) (yes, Listerine!) once or twice a week. Mix one part Listerine with two parts warm water in a basin and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes, then apply a moisturizer like Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Foot Creme ($5.59), which contains hydrating urea. In addition to skin-sloughing benzoic acid, Listerine contains ethanol, which kills bacteria, fungi, and germs that can lead to athlete’s foot.

Coating feet in a cream like Burt’s Bees Thoroughly Therapeutic Honey & Bilberry Foot Creme ($10), which is loaded with moisture-replenishing honey and jojoba oil, and wearing socks to bed is an excellent way to lock in moisture for softer feet. If you can’t stand to sleep in socks, place a humidifier at the foot of your bed to keep feet hydrated. Treat thick, dry patches on your feet by massaging them with Vicks VapoRub topical ointment ($3) in the p.m. to battle bacteria while you sleep.

Symptoms of Common Foot Problems

A normal nail bed is pink and smooth. Anything other than that may be a sign of a serious medical condition, Reynolds says. Here’s what to be wary of.

Are your nails brown or black?

See a doctor ASAP. A black or brown spot on your nail could be an indication ofmelanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Are they green?

This might be a bacterial or fungal infection caused by trauma to the nail. The tint could be from trapped fluid or pus underneath the nail.

Are there horizontal ridges?

Bumpy lines that run across the nail may be an indication of chronic eczema on the skin under or around the toenail.

Are there vertical ridges?

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis or problems with circulation have lines running along the length of their toenails.

The opinions expressed in this section are of the experts and are not the opinions of WebMD. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

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Huffington Post – Bunions: When Do They Become Something To Worry About?

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S.

Chief of Foot Surgery and Associate Chairman of Orthopaedics, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in New York

Posted: 07/5/11 08:36 AM ET
Look down at your feet — would you know if you have a bunion?

Many people know the term ‘bunion’ and that it occurs on a foot, but don’t know exactly what a bunion is.

Most people think a bunion is an abnormal growth of bone at the base of the big toe. This is incorrect (at least in most cases). A bunion is actually a structural problem where the big toe joint becomes subluxed and drifts towards the smaller toes. A displaced bone, called a metatarsal, becomes prominent on the inside of the foot. The bunion simply refers to the enlarged prominent ‘knobby’ area.

2011-07-03-DrNealBlitzHuffPoBunionBlogPic1Final.jpg

Bunions may progress in size and severity. A bunion may start of as minor issue and, over time, may develop into a severe disfiguring foot deformity. See below:

2011-07-03-DrNealBlitzBunionProgressionHuffPoFINAL.jpg
So if you have bunion, here are 10 important things you should know, as you consider treatment:

  1. Not all bunions are painful.
  2. The medical term is hallux abducto valgus.
  3. They come in different sizes: small, medium, large or severe.
  4. Genetics. You may have inherited your grandmothers feet.
  5. They occur more often in women than men.
  6. Pointy-toed shoes and high heels may result in bunions.
  7. Bunions may get bigger over time, or not.
  8. The bunion may cause problems with the lesser toes.
  9. Non-operative treatments are mostly aimed at treating the symptoms.
  10. Surgical treatment goals are to realign the natural position of the toe.

When to seek treatment?

There is not a specific point when bunion sufferers ‘must’ start treatment despite the bunion severity. Some people begin treatment with the smallest bunion while others neglect the condition until severe. Reasons to seek medical treatment are:

 

  • Presence of Pain? Pain and discomfort is the most common reason to seek treatment. Pain directly on the bunion is a symptom of direct shoe pressure. Joint pain suggests arthritic degeneration. Pain on the ball of the foot is concerning for altered foot biomechanics and a sign of a bigger problem. Pain should not be ignored.

 

 

  • Interference with Activity? Some people wait until a bunion interferes with activities before seeking medical treatment and I think this is a mistake. Impact activities (such as running, tennis) may be more challenging to perform. If left ignored, simple everyday walking may become problematic. You should take measures that keep you active and healthy.

 

 

  • Inability to Wear Certain Shoes? In this subset of patients, it’s the sheer size of the bunion preventing fashionable shoes that motivates treatment — not pain. These patients have learned to live with discomfort but chose fashion over foot health. Clearly, inability to wear shoes is a valid reason for intervention.

 

 

  • An Unsightly Bunion? Foot care experts are less concerned with cosmetic appearance as they are about pain, activity restrictions and overall foot function. Often insurance companies only cover medical bunion treatments if pain is present, regardless of size.

 

 

  • Overlapping toes? When the second toe has overlapped the big toe, it’s an obvious indicator of a global foot problem, and is often associated with collapse of the foot. Interestingly, these problems are not always painful as the condition develops overtime and the pain may be muted, or patients have accepted a certain amount of foot discomfort. The driving force for treatment becomes secondary problems such as metatarsal stress fractures or inability to fit shoes.

 

How to limit progression of a bunion?

It is important to understand that not all bunions become worse (or bigger). Some bunions never change in size. Others may progress onto a major foot deformity. Genetics play a big role and you may be ‘destined’ to develop a ‘bad’ bunion. Below are non-surgical measures to mitigate pain as well as limit the progression.

 

  • Smart Shoe Selection: Avoiding shoes that are bad for your foot health may be the best preventive measure you can take. Pointy toes shoes directly pushes on the big toe inappropriately, and in my opinion are ‘bunion formers.’ If the bunion becomes irritated, then spot stretching the shoe limits symptoms. High heels may also contribute to bunions due to altered foot mechanics — so limit time in them. Flip flops are considered a “poor footwear” choice by most health care professionals. Minimalist shoes seem to be a better lightweight alternative.

 

 

  • Counteract Muscle Spasms: Muscle spasms within the foot are often due to a muscular imbalance, and an important warning sign that muscles are trying to stabilize bone structure. Strained muscles are less effective at stabilizing the foot and a bunion may progress. Deep massage and mineral foot soaks ease tension in the foot.

 

 

  • Foot Strengthening: It’s important to keep your foot muscles strong to counteract the muscular imbalance. Perform simple toe exercises daily — such as picking up marbles (or a handkerchief) with your toes. Commercially available toe exercising devices may have therapeutic benefits but studies do not exist demonstrating efficacy.

 

 

  • Arch Supports: Bunions and foot deformities tend to occur in people with flat feet and/or ligamentous laxity. Arch supports provide extrinsic structure and promote a more ‘proper’ alignment and may limit bunions from getting bigger. Over the counter inserts are a good first start. Doctor-prescribed molded orthotics have the benefit of being custom to your foot and therapeutically tweaked.

 

 

  • Pain Medication (Oral & Topical): Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is commonly recommended to decrease pain and inflammation. Topical treatments also help manage inflammation and pain symptoms. Capsaicin cream/ointment (derived from spicy chili peppers) is a potent pain reliever that works via a neurochemical pathway. Be sure that the skin overlying the bunion is intact, otherwise capsaicin will cause an intense burning sensation. Topical products containing methyl salicylate distract the pain perception by causing cooling/warming skin sensations. Topical corticosteroid cream may temporarily reduce inflammation and should be used intermittently because it may cause thinning of the skin as well as hypopigmentation.

 

 

  • Bunion Padding: A pad limits direct pressure and may prevent the pain cascade altogether. Chronic bunion inflammation can result in deeper bone problems, so prevention is beneficial. More importantly, a properly placed pad may provide a physical blockade that prevents the bunion from pushing out. Pads may be composed of felt, moleskin or gel.

 

 

  • Toe Spacers & Bunion Splints: The purpose of this intervention is to physically place the big toe in a more normal position. A toe spacer (often made of silicone) is worn while walking. A bunion splint is a useful device (worn while sleeping) to physically realign the big toe.

 

If you have a bunion, do what it takes to take care of your feet and prevent progression. If the above measures don’t help, then surgery may be inevitable.

~ Dr. Neal M. Blitz

To learn more about Dr. Blitz, please visit www.nealblitz.com

Follow Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrNealBlitz

 

© 2011 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

 

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