Tag Archives: foot wear

Buying new school shoes online? How to measure your children’s feet accurately .

Have your children outgrown their school shoes?

You can measure your children’s feet yourself at home. It doesn’t matter if they are six or sixteen (or sixty), correct fit is important for anyone at any age. Read on.

When children’s feet grow, they grow quickly.

In a child’s first three to four years, their feet grow about two sizes a year, although by the time they are school age, at five years old, it has slowed to around a size a year. Of course, rate of increase varies from child to child.

You can’t currently have feet measured professionally because shoe shops are currently closed and ordering online has become a necessity.

You can take the guesswork out of it by taking measurements at home. Here is how to do it.

It is essential to get your children’s shoe size right first time.

Shoes being too big can be as bad for your children’s feet as being too small.

Of course, every child’s foot is unique, but a well-fitting shoe not only protects foot development, keeping growing feet comfortable and healthy but gives children the confidence as they work and play.

How does home measurement work?

All you need is a printable foot gauge. Click here – and follow the instructions.

  • make sure your printer is set to 100% and not to scale
  • once it has printed use a ruler to check it’s correct
  • place the paper gauge on a flat, hard floor
  • ensure the heel is level with the ‘base line’
  • make sure your child is standing with both feet taking even weight
  • measure both feet, it is common for one foot to be a bit bigger than the other
  • note down the size to their largest toe (this isn’t always the big toe).
  • repeat on the other foot.
  • for the width, cut the width measure off the right side and wrap it around the thickest part of the foot – diagonally from the ball joint on their little toe to the ball joint on their big toe
  • buy a shoe with approximately 2cm growth room

If you don’t have a printer, you can use a piece of A4 paper and a ruler/tape to get the measurements.

What type of shoe should you choose for school?

With children recently spending so much time at home and no time at school they will have been wearing all sorts of shoes, wellingtons, crocs or no shoes at all.

It will be quite a contrast but they will benefit from leather shoes that are supportive, correctly measured, and that fasten securely to the their foot.

It is also a good idea for them to wear them around the house for a few hours in the days leading up to them going back to school.

How to check if your child’s shoes fit correctly?

Once you receive the new shoes – try them on, then –

  • do the check in the afternoon as feet can swell as the day passes
  • fastened them
  • make sure your child is standing
  • ensure the back of the foot is snugly against the heel of the shoe
  • press your thumb firmly down sideways on the front of your child’s shoe to see where their toes are
  • If you can’t feel the toe through the shoe, get your child to wiggle their foot
  • With the foot firmly against the back of the shoe there should be a gap of about 2cm or a thumbs width for growth
  • check the width is just right using a finger and thumb.
  • remember that sizes vary between brands.

Finally, give the shoe a tug as if trying to pull it off. If there is a little give, but it stays on then you know it is fitting correctly. In any case, your child will soon tell you if the shoe isn’t comfortable.

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, give us a call on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Hot feet? How to relieve the heat.

We have now had several consecutive days with maximum recorded temperatures over 30 degrees centigrade.

Typical of the UK, the heat comes on quickly, with no smooth transition, and then we feel uncomfortable for days while we try to get used to it. And, of course, our feet can feel really hot and throbbing locked in shoes while we work.

What actually happens to your feet?

As temperatures soar, the quarter of a million sweat glands in your feet start working hard. The job of the sweat glands is to make the skin cooler but can leave it damp and a little whiffy. This is often accompanied with swelling.

One of the functions of your skin is temperature regulation. Blood vessels dilate to help heat escape and fluid floods the tissues causing the skin goes pink or red – erythema. If you have a job that involves standing or sitting for long periods, gravity encourages fluid to collect in the lowest point of the body  – your feet, helping to make them feel tired and achy.

Sweaty, swollen feet aren’t just uncomfortable – they also increase your risk of foot health issues, such as blisters, foot odour and athlete’s foot fungal infections.

The fungi and bacteria that cause foot odour just love these moist, warm and dark conditions come with a heat wave.

So, how do you look after your feet in a heatwave?

Simple, reliable ways to cool your feet

At the end of your working day, you get home and your feet are so hot and throbbing that they feel like they might explode. there are some simple choices using items that can easily be found in most households.

• A hot water bottle can be used to cool as well as heat. Fill it with water and crushed ice and sit with your feet on it like a cold cushion.

• No hot water bottle? A cold, damp towel draped over your feet can work wonders.

• If you can, get outside and put your feet up on a footstool. They’ll soon feel cooler and less swollen.

• Peppermint is a popular essential oil to add to a foot spray, with a lovely cooling effect.

• A nice bowl of cold water and ice also goes a long way towards making your feet feel better.

Keep  your feet comfortable

Comfortable feet aren’t something that just  happens, you need to put some work into it.

• Keep your feet clean – wash and thoroughly dry your feet morning and night. This removes or neutralises sweat and odour-causing bacteria and fungi.

• Use antiperspirant on your feet daily to reduce excessive sweating and odour.

• Wear ‘wicking’ socks and change them at least daily. These draw sweat away from the skin which is why they’ve long been favoured by runners.

• Choose footwear made to breathe and if you are at work, buy shoes for comfort, not for fashion.

It is typical of the UK as a nation to grumble about poor weather and then to complain loudly when it improves, but sore feet are no joke. If you are concerned that your foot pain may have a deeper cause, then give us a call. Your first visit includes a consultation, discussion of concerns and the construction of a treatment plan.

Consult a professional.

If you would like more specific advice, if you experience sweaty, smelly or uncomfortable feet, then the first step is to consult a professional for the best advice and a treatment plan.

If you would like more information or to speak to one of our Podiatrists, or to make an appointment, give us a call  on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Do you have tiny holes in the skin on the soles of your feet?

Punctate or pitted keratolysis

This is a condition characterised by multiple tiny holes on the top layer of the skin mainly on the soles of the feet. It can also be found between the toes, but usually affects pressure areas, such as the ball of the foot, heels and the pads of the toes.

Often it is accompanied with a distinctive smell.

What causes it?

Puncate or pitted keratolysis is thought to be caused by bacteria. Several species of bacteria are responsible including corynebacteria, Dermatophilus congolensisKytococcus sedentarius, actinomyces and streptomyces.

The small holes, or ‘pitting’ are due to the horny cells (stratum corneum) being destroyed by protease enzymes produced by the bacteria. This process is fed and exacerbated by moist conditions meaning that this condition is often found on sweaty feet.

The bad smell is due to sulfur compounds produced by the bacteria – thiols, sulfides and thioesters.

Who can develop it?

This condition is experienced more by men than women. Any profession where you are constantly on your feet and footwear is worn for extended periods makes the wearer prone to developing it. Examples are soldiers, farmers, industrial workers and fishermen but this list is by no means exclusive.

What is likely to make it worse?

This list isn’t exhaustive but these are some of the main influencers –

  • Hot, humid weather
  • Occlusive, fully enclosed footwear, such as rubber boots or vinyl shoes
  • Excessively sweaty feet (hyperhidrosis)
  • Thickened skin of the soles of the feet (keratoderma/hyperkeratosis)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Aging
  • Immunodeficiency

What does it look and smell like?

Puncate keratolysis usually results in very smelly feet This is caused by infection of the soles of the feet. Either the forefoot or the heel or both become white with clusters of punched-out pits.

The appearance is clearer and more dramatic when the feet are wet, such as after a bath or shower, swimming or long periods in the same shoes.

It can affect the fingers but this is very rare. There is a variant where there are more diffuse or wide spread, red areas on the soles of the foot.

The key things to look for are –

  • Mainly affects the soles, forefoot, the heel and pads of toes or all three. Palms are very rarely infected.
  • Presents as  whitish skin surface with clusters of multiple, fine punched-out pits.
  • Pits can often join together to form larger, crater-like lesions.
  • A variant presents with diffuse red areas on the soles of the feet
  • Strong foot odour.

Why would you visit a Podiatrist?

The pits can present a striking and worrying appearance to the soles of the feet, but they don’t usually present with other symptoms such as pain. Occasionally, in chronic conditions, there  can be some itching and soreness associated on walking or standing.

The usual reason for concern is the strong smell that accompanies this condition.

A Podiatrist is trained to recognise this condition but if there is any doubt, skin scrappings and culture are possible to confirm which bacteria are involved.

How is it treated?

There are a number of topical anti-biotics and anti-septics that can be successfully applied, but these are normally only accessed through your GP.

Fucidic acid cream (or Fucidin) can be applied topically and if this fail, Clindamycin can be taken orally. Other medications are available and this would need to be discussed with your GP to decide the best treatment on an individual basis.

How can I prevent it or prevent it reoccurring?

Pitted keratolysis can recur quickly unless the feet are kept dry. the following are some ideas and steps to take to prevent that –

  • Wear boots for as little time as possible
  • Wear socks that allow effective absorption of sweat, ie cotton and/or wool
  • Wear open-toed shoes/sandals whenever possible
  • Wash feet with soap/detergent or antiseptic wash twice daily
  • Apply antiperspirant to the feet regularly
  • Do not wear the same shoes two days in a row allowing them to dry out
  • Nevershare footwear or towels with others.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Do I have hammer toes and can they be treated?

What is a toe deformity?

There are various types of smaller toe deformities and depending on shape are classified as hammer, clawed or retracted toes.

There are three small bones (phalanges) in each of your four smaller (lesser) toes. The bones are connected by ligaments, which dictate range of movement and prevent dislocation. Tendons connect muscle to bone within the foot and control movement and provide stability relative to the ground when walking.

Larger muscles and tendons within the leg move the toes. Toe deformities can occur when there is a muscle imbalance within the foot and the leg. Buckling of the toes can be due to external pressures from shoes and direct injury resulting in toe deformity. Inflammatory and neurological conditions can cause toe deformity as well.

What causes the problem?

As with bunions, there is no single cause of lesser (small) toe deformities. They are frequently caused by defective mechanical structure in the foot which can be a result of genetics; certain foot types pre-dispose development of toe deformities.

Changes to lesser toe shape are commonly due to pressure from shoes or the next toe which can result in painful hard skin forming. It is quite common to see corns and calluses around the tips of toes or on top of small toe joints.

Poorly fitting footwear tends to aggravate the problem, squeezing the forefoot, crowding the toes together and worsening the underlying condition, resulting in pain and deformity of the joint. As we get older, toe deformities may progress become more pronounced. Arthritis and trauma can also play a role.

Is it serious?

Many people have pronounced toe deformities that are painless, but can cause problems with footwear, while other, more subtle toe deformities that can be very painful. Although treatment can ease pain, only surgery can correct the deformity.

Sometimes, pressure from adjacent toes can lead a cascade effect resulting in further toe deformities and/or pain in the metatarsals (long bones in the forefoot). For example, when deformity of the small toes is made worse by increasing bunion changes.

Patients who have altered nerve or blood supply to their feet and are assessed as at risk of lower limb loss, often first present with ulcers on their smaller toes. Left untreated, seemingly small issues can progress rapidly to limb threatening problems.

Who gets it?

Anyone, but they tend to be more common in women, likely due to more restrictive footwear. Parents or grandparents have toe deformities, may make you more prone to developing them. Medical conditions such as diabetes or inflammatory arthritis may also lead to development of severe toe deformities as the disease develops.

How do I prevent toe deformities?

Wearing sensible shoes that fit well is a good start. Choose wider shoes that provide toes with room to move and keep your heel height to no more than 4cm. Consider the following –

  • If you do to wear heels, vary your heel heights from day to day, one day wearing low heels and the next day slightly higher heels
  • Avoid backless, high-heeled shoes.as they force your toes to claw as you walk
  • A shoe with a fastening over the instep holds the foot secure and stable reducing the need for you to try to stabilise your foot with your toes
  • With existing toe deformities, try to accommodate your toes by selecting shoes that have a wider/deeper toe-box

Your podiatrist may recommend the following:

  • Conservative or no treatment (you can elect to live with your toe problems)
  • Regular foot-care by a Podiatrist to reduce callus build-up
  • Use of foot cream and topical medication for associated problems
  • Splints, shields, off-loading devices, pads and shoe alterations/footwear advice
  • The opinion of a Podiatric Surgeon

Non-surgical treatments can help relieve symptoms but it is unlikely they can correct the underlying deformity. Your podiatric surgeon will evaluate the extent of the deformity and remodel the shape of your toes, allowing a greater chance of fitting inside an average shoe.

Surgery is complex and intricate as deformities of the small toes can occur in any one of the three joints in each toe and in any direction. There are numerous surgical options for toe deformities and an increasing number of new technologies in surgery for small joints.

The aim of surgery is to address the underlying cause of the deformity to prevent recurrence. As with all surgery, there are risks and complications, and it is important to balance any potential risk against perceived reward when considering foot surgery.

You should certainly consider getting an opinion about surgery or surgical options from a Podiatric Surgeon if you are in pain or experiencing progressing deformity.

When should I see a podiatric surgeon about it?

If you experience any foot care issues which do not resolve themselves naturally or through routine foot care, then ask your Podiatrist to refer you to a Podiatric Surgeon.

Your Podiatric Surgeon will discuss options in a shared decision-making process accounting for your presenting symptoms, age, activity level, occupation and medical history, in conjunction with appropriate imaging. This will help you to make an informed decision on what is best for you.

Podiatrists and Podiatric Surgeons are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can check your professional is registered here.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Ever thought about visiting a Podiatrist and wondered what they do?

 

Have you ever thought about visiting a Podiatrist and wondered what they do?

And what is the difference between a Chiropodist and a Podiatrist? Read on to have our most commonly asked questions answered.

How many Podiatrists are there at Maidenhead Podiatry?

We currently have eight Podiatrists working at the clinic. Not everyone works at the same time or same number of hours but between us we provide clinic based treatments, home and nursing/care home visits.

Which governing bodies are our Podiatrists a member of and how are we regulated?

Our Podiatrists are all HCPC registered and Insured Members of the College of Podiatry. The HCPC is our government regulating body and the College of Podiatry provides our professional registration and insurance. It is vital to ensure that anyone who provides you with such an essential service is qualified, insured, registered and regulated.

What is a Podiatry?

Podiatrist comes from the Greek ‘pod’ meaning foot and ‘iatreia’ meaning healing, hence one who heals feet. The term originated around 1914 in an attempt to separate an emerging profession from its perceived humble roots. Chiropody developed as a profession in the UK while being called Podiatry in almost every other country. In the mid-1990s, our profession changed it’s name from Chiropody to Podiatry to bring us in-line with the rest of the world, but the skill set remained the same.

In the last thirty years, Podiatry has developed considerably as a profession with today’s Podiatrists capable of providing a wide ranging and comprehensive service in every health care aspect of the lower leg and foot.

Podiatrists are skilled healthcare professionals who have been trained to degree level to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs. We can also prevent and correct deformity helping to keep people mobile, active and relieve pain.

What symptoms can you help treat?

Podiatrists can help a number of common conditions including but not limited to

  • gait analysis
  • bio-mechanical assessment
  • musculo-skeletal assessment
  • corns
  • callus
  • shockwave
  • verrucas
  • fungal nails
  • ingrown  nails
  • cryosurgery – verruca freezing
  • flat foot
  • hammer toes
  • diabetic assessment
  • heel pain
  • foot pain
  • Swift verruca microwave

What could your clients expect on their first visit?

Every patient journey at Maidenhead Podiatry begins with a consultation.

We take a comprehensive history including underlying medical conditions and medication. We then discuss the reason for attending followed by an examination. At this point treatment options are presented and following informed consent, we formulate a treatment plan and proceed with the best solution.

Depending on your reason for attending, your treatment plan could include

  • treatment
  • diabetic assessment
  • modalities such as Shockwave and Swift
  • advice
  • rehabilitation
  • sonography
  • surgery
  • ongoing assessment
  • onward referral

What do you use for assessment?

Most important are visual clues such as hair growth pattern and colour of the skin. Depending on patient requirement, we could use any of the following

  • observation
  • examination
  • palpation
  • 10g monofilament – to test for neuropathy
  • 128Hz tuning fork – for sensation testing
  • reflex hammer
  • Doppler – to help assess blood flow
  • Tip Therm – for assessing temperature perception

Who could benefit from a Podiatry visit?

Anyone who has feet. Our youngest patients are under 1yr old and our oldest is over 100yrs old.

Different age groups tend to present with different issues because of the effects of the ageing on the feet but conditions such as diabetes can affect all ages.

How accessible is the Maidenhead Podiatry?

We have our own private car park immediately next to the clinic, with wide, flat, no threshold doorways for easy wheelchair and disabled access. We have two treatment rooms downstairs. If you have any special access requirements, please let us know and we will make every effort to accommodate them.

What do I do now?

For more information about Podiatry or to make an appointment, please call: 01628 773588 or email  info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk. 

What can you do about smelly feet?

Why do my feet smell?

It is a staple of comedy – cheesy feet, but not much to laugh at if you have smelly feet and you have no idea how to stop it.

No one wants smelly feet and there are simple things you can do to make sure yours stay fresh.So, what can you do about smelly feet?

Hyperhidrosis?

There are more sweat glands per inch in our feet than anywhere else in the body. Their function is to keep the skin moist and supple and regulate temperature when the weather is hot, if you have an unnaturally high temperature or while exercising.

They secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise, like elsewhere in the body.

The average foot has 250,000 sweat glands and the capability to produce half a litre of sweat a day. In most feet, sweat has an important function, when contained within a shoe, with excess evaporating. Open shoes allow evaporation of sweat leading to dry skin, especially in the hot weather of summer.

Bromhidrosis?

Known as bromhidrosis, this where sweaty feet combine with smelly feet at any time of year. This mainly involves apocrine sweat glands found in the armpit, the groin and on the feet. It can be embarrassing and unpleasant for those who have them and those that smell them.

Foot odour is caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down the sweat and releasing an offensive smell and is often influenced by changes in levels of hormones.

Anyone can get sweaty feet, regardless of the temperature or time of year.

However teenagers and pregnant women are more prone due to hormonal changes making them sweat more and changing its composition.

Other factors include

  • being on your feet all day
  • being under a lot of stress
  • hyperhidrosis, which makes you sweat more than usual
  • fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot
  • sweat soaks into shoes and they don’t dry before you wear them again
  • bacteria on the skin break down sweat as it comes from the pores
  • an unpleasant odour is released as the sweat decomposes.

So how can we prevent smelly feet?

There are many things you can try, either individually or in combination. These include –

  • exercise good personal hygiene – wash and dry your feet every day
  • use an anti-bacterial soap on your feet
  • change your shoes regularly and dis-guard old, worn out shoes
  • don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days running – especially important with teenagers
  • change your socks (ideally wool or cotton, not nylon) at least once a day.
  • clean the inside of your shoes regularly with an anti-bacterial solution
  • wrap your shoes inside a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for 24hrs to kill micro-organisms including bacteria

In addition you could also try

  • wiping between your toes with cotton wool and surgical spirit following a shower or bath and after drying them with a towel
  • use a foot spray deodorant or antiperspirant on your feet
  • buy medicated/deodourising insoles for your shoes
  • wear leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe, unlike man-made materials
  • wear open-toes sandals in summer and go barefoot at home in the evenings

If that doesn’t work?

Smelly feet are a common problem that usually clear up before too long, with care. Sometimes it can be a sign of a broader medical condition and if the condition persists it is advisable to seek professional attention.

If you’re worried that your level of sweating is abnormally high and your feet unusually smelly, see your GP if simple measures to reduce your foot odour don’t help.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our podiatrists, call us on 01628 773588 or e-mail  info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Wherever the beach, make sure your feet are ready!

 

British beach or foreign beach, make sure you are ready.

It is a strange time at the moment. After so long being told to stay at home we are finally seeing an easing of the lockdown restrictions and that means there is a strong prospect of us heading to the beach this summer.

Of course, we don’t know if it will be a British beach or a foreign one, but the preparation and the wish to look your best is the same.walking on a beach

The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry have put together a number of summer foot-care tips, to help get your feet in shape for the beach or just a summer at home.

  1. Trim your toenails for summer 

    – Use proper nail clippers and cut straight across following the contour of the toe, not too short, and not down at the corners as this can lead to ingrown nails. File them, if it’s easier.

  2. Go barefoot

    – Go barefoot or wear open-toed sandals whenever you can in the hot weather (except when you’re in a communal shower or changing area) to help stop your feet getting sweaty and smelly.  Go bare foot as much as possible at home.  If you have diabetes, poor circulation or are taking anti-inflammatory drugs ask advice first from your Podiatrist.

  3. Forget flip-flops

    – Don’t be tempted to wear flip-flops all through the summer. They don’t provide support for your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them for too long. (Fit Flops, however do offer some degree of support).

  4. Change socks daily

    – If you have to wear socks in hot weather, change them once a day and choose ones that contain at least 70% cotton or wool to keep your feet dry and stop them smelling.

  5. Remove hard skin

    – Hard, cracked skin around the heels is very common in summer, often caused by open-backed sandals and flip-flops rubbing around the edge of the heel. Use a foot file or emery board (pumice stone is horribly unhygienic) to gently rub away the hard skin, then apply a rich moisturiser such as aqueous cream or E45 to soften the skin.

  6. Banish blisters –

    Blisters strike more often in hot weather and are caused by rubbing, especially between the toes if you’re wearing flip-flops with “thongs”. If you do get a blister, don’t put a plaster over it.  Leave it to dry out on its own.

  7. Buy shoes carefully

    – Always buy work shoes late in the afternoon. Shoes bought in the morning are often too small by the end of the day as your feet swell as the day passes.

  8. Ring the changes –

    Wear a variety of different sandals and shoes during summer to help prevent cracked heels, hard skin and blisters. Wear shoes with leather or Gortex uppers. Hard leather shoes retain more moisture than more porous softer leather shoes. In general natural materials such as cotton and wool are far better for your feet because natural fibres provide a “wicking” effect which absorbs moisture and keeps the feet cool as your perspiration rapidly evaporates. Better still, some man-made socks wick sweat away from the skin providing a constant dry layer next to the skin. Change your socks or hosiery at least every day and take spare socks in case it needs to be more often.

  9. Watch out for foot infections – 

    The floors of communal showers and changing rooms at open-air and hotel swimming pools are hot spots for infections such as athlete’s foot and verrucas. Don’t wander around public pools barefoot. Protect your feet by wearing flip-flops in the changing room and at the pool edge.

  10. Get help if you need it – 

    Basic hygiene and nail cutting should be all you need to keep your feet healthy. Wash feet every day and dry properly between the toes, especially after swimming or using the gym.

feet in the water on a beachThe best start is to to visit a professional. If you would like your feet examined, assessed and treated by one of our Podiatrists, call us for an appointment on – 01628 773588 or email – info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

If you would like more information about Poidiatry then visit – http://maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk/treatments/podiatry/

 

Caring for your feet and back during pregnancy

How do you care for your feet during pregnancy?

At Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic we find foot and back care during pregnancy is often overlooked with treatment only being sought towards the end of term, and frequently only because backs seize up or feet can no longer be reached.

Our Chiropractors have a special interest in back and skeletal issues associated with pregnancy. This includes pre and post-partum.

Many changes occur during pregnancy but with forethought and planning they can be anticipated and managed as well as possible during this wonderful time. 

What changes?

Pregnancy means many changes in a woman’s body and there are common changes that develop over the nine month term.

Of these complaints, usually ignored, are changes to back, feet and foot pain.

A woman’s centre of gravity moves forward during pregnancy due to the natural weight gain. This leads to a new weight-bearing stance, leaning backwards to counter-balance the swelling abdomen, adding pressure in the back, knees and feet.

Back and foot care during this period is important and sometimes something as simple as exercises or a set of orthotics – specialist insoles – can bring relief and make life easier.

What are some of the common problems?

Common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over-pronation (rolling the foot inwards), oedema (swelling), and the build up of hard skin (callous) or corns as a direct consequence of increased pressure and friction.

This can lead to back an hip pain as well as pain in the heel, inner arch, or the ball-of-the-foot.

Many of these issues can be well managed at home with exercise, stretching and basic foot care. But sometimes it is best to seek the advice and treatment of a professional.

The roll of hormones

Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the ovaries and placenta with important effects in the female reproductive system in preparation for childbirth, including relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis to facilitate birth.

This can increase back and hip pain leading to discomfort and soreness with standing and walking. Something our Chiropractors are familiar with and can provide comprehensive advice on treatment and management.

Relaxin also relaxes ligaments in the feet contributing to changes including pain and broadening of the foot. Changes to the shape of the feet during pregnancy are often permanent. Speak to one of our Podiatrists about managing foot pain.

Other changes

Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins largely due to the temporary weight gain of pregnancy.

Because of this, it is important to learn more about back and foot health during pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Chiropractors or Podiatrists, call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01629 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

What is gout and do you have it?

Do I have gout?

Arthritis is a disease of the joints which results in them to become inflamed and stiff.

There are three main types of arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteo-arthritis and the less common form, Gout.

What is gout and what causes it?

Gout is the result of too much uric acid in the body leading to a build-up in the blood. Small crystals can form, collecting in the joints causing irritation and inflammation, which can be painful and severe.

Is it serious?

Apart from the severe pain that gout can cause, most other side effects of gout are rare but can include kidney damage because crystals form to create kidney stones which are known for being extremely painful to pass.

Who gets it?

1 in 200 people are affected by gout. More men than women are affected and it tends to appear in middle age but can run in families.

How do I know I have it?

The main symptom of gout is waking during the night with an acute throbbing pain in the big toe, which is also swollen. Usually only one of the big toes is affected. The pain lasts for a few hours and usually subsides not returning for a few months.

If it is more persistent, pain may be constant accompanied by swelling, redness and heat. If symptoms are persistent a visit to your GP is needed as they can be controlled by medication.

How do I prevent it?

You can reduce your chances of having attacks by leading a healthy lifestyle by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet including what you drink (i.e. avoiding too much alcohol or fizzy drinks)
  • Making sure there is plenty of Vitamin C in your diet.

What are the treatments?

Gout can be controlled and regulated with anti-inflammatory drugs, which your GP will be able to prescribe, and these will alleviate the attack over 24 hours or so. Anti-gout medications are usually only taken during pain episodes.

When gout strikes, it helps to elevate your leg to reduce swelling together with the application of ice or cooling lotions while waiting for your medication to take effect.

Your podiatrist will also be able to increase comfort through advice and adapting your existing footwear with orthoses or other specialist insoles to help redistribute pressure away from the affected joints.

Made-to-measure shoes can also be prescribed and your podiatrist will be able to advise you on the correct type of shoes to wear and where to obtain them.

They can also provide protective shields for your toes or padding to relieve pressure and thereby reducing friction. Any secondary problems like ulcers or corns can also be treated.  They can also refer you to a specialist for more serious cases.

When should I see a Podiatrist?

If you experience any foot care issues which do not resolve themselves naturally or through routine foot care within three weeks, it is recommended to seek the help of a healthcare professional.

To talk to a podiatrist (also known as a chiropodist) – https://maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk/what-is-a-podiatrist/ – about the options available regarding treatment, you can contact an NHS Podiatrist or a private practice Podiatrist.

In both cases, always ensure that any practitioners you visit are registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and describe themselves as a Podiatrist (or Chiropodist).

In the NHS, through your GP, Specialist teams of rheumatologists, podiatrists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, along with specialist nurses, will provide the most effective care and treatment for patients with arthritis, especially those with rheumatoid arthritis.

To contact an NHS Podiatrist, please contact your GP practice for information on an NHS referral (in some areas you can self-refer).

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists give us a call on 01628 773588 and speak to our reception team.

Snap-shots from the history of footwear

We are constantly being told of the importance of shoes and, more to the point, the importance of the right shoes.

It can be a dry subject so here are some fun facts, interesting snippets and snap-shots from the history of footwear.

The Ancient Egyptians used to paint the picture of their enemy on the sole of their shoe so that they stamped on them when they walked and today in parts of the Middle East, throwing your shoe at someone is considered a gross insult.

The Romans are thought to have been the first to make left and right shoes, previously both had been the same, and they coloured them according to rank.

In the thirteenth century shoe/boot makers were called ‘Cordwainers’, named after the fine, hard wearing goatskins that came from Cordova in Spain.

‘Cobblers’ at this time did not make shoes. They bought up old ones and re-made them for re-sale, the same materials being used repeatedly. Hence the term – ‘cobble something together.’

Although now seen as a sign of femininity and glamour – a pair of high heels was once an essential accessory for men.

The history of footwear is inextricably linked with the history of transport. In every century before the last two, the most common way of moving from one place to another was either walking or riding.

In previous centuries, horse-riding was almost exclusively a male pursuit and this had a profound effect on the design of men’s shoes. Men’s high heels helped keep the foot in the stirrup and helped control the horse during hard riding. They couldn’t be functional if the heel was too narrow or tapering, as it would tend to snap; and if they were too high, walking was difficult.

Therefore, the design was a response to practical need. They had to be dual-purpose, suitable for riding and convenient for walking. By the middle of the nineteenth century, improved coach design and development of the railways meant there was less demand for a boot primarily designed for riding and so the design changed again.

Some diminutive men through history also used them to make themselves appear taller, even the odd film star today.

During the same period surviving women’s shoes suggest they were not made to be worn outdoors. When women travelled, they went by coach or, in the seventeenth century, sedan chair.

Therefore, women’s high heels had little to do with practicality. Indeed, at the court of Louis 16th, women wore such extreme high heels that they could only walk with a stick and could not tackle stairs without assistance. 

Of course the shoes described were the preserve of the wealthy. For the majority of people, footwear was chosen for practicality. Boots that kept the water out and the warmth in. Shoes and boots that were worn until worn out, often passed down from the wealthy to their servants as long as they weren’t too elaborate.

Fashions also varied from country to country. One example is the way the french revolution swept away all fashion and fripperies. Shoes became plain flat and without heels. The fashions that would give even the most masculine man a strangely female gait were replaced by that allowed walking to be natural and easy for the first time in generations.

Today’s shoes are a progression and natural development of earlier styles and continue to change year on year.

‘Shoes can lift the spirits, delight the sole and give confidence to the insecure’. Colin McDowell – Shoes, Fashion and Fantasy

Shoes develop with contemporary fashion moods and designers play with scale, proportion, colour, texture and function. What is most important is that they are comfortable, supportive and fit for purpose.

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists then call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01628 773588 or e-mail us on info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Choosing your baby’s first shoes

Choosing your baby’s first shoes is such an important purchase.

The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry are often asked for advice on children’s foot wear and what to look for when buying their baby’s first shoes.

As parents know, most babies don’t stay in one place for very long.

What a fascinating place the world is, particularly if it’s all new to you……and then you learn to crawl.

First things first

 

By about four months most babies start to rock and roll, first from their side to their back, and back again.

Soon after they’ll start to lie with their upper body supported on one or both hands – all the better to see the world around them.

Next, they learn to sit.

At first, they can stay in place when you put them down for just a few seconds before tumbling back, but later they’ll be able to sit up for themselves as their muscles strengthen and coordination improves.

Babies then work out that by pushing down with hands to raise their upper body, they can pull themselves along.

Later, their legs join in too and then they’re off.

Crawling

At high speed too – they can crawl 400m in the time it takes you to drink a cup of tea.

Obviously not all babies are the same and some don’t crawl, instead they perform a rather curious bottom shuffling.

Don’t use a baby-walker – your baby will stand when they’re ready and baby-walkers won’t make it any sooner.

In fact, badly adjusted baby-walkers are thought to hinder development.

Cruising

“Cruising” comes between crawling and walking.

Having pulled themselves up on the furniture children slide their hands to one side, then their feet. This allows them to move their whole body.

To stay upright they will always keep either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in place.

At first they crawl when confronted with a gap between furniture.

However, as they grow they learn to cross by moving their feet into the gap and letting go to totter to the next support.

Walking

Between 9 and 18 months old, most children learn to walk, depending on development of muscular strength.

But don’t hurry them or become anxious – your child is an individual and will walk as soon as they are ready.

First steps on a very long road.

First shoes

As soon as your child can take a few steps unaided then they are ready for their first pair of real shoes.

When choosing your child’s first shoes try and find a shop with a trained fitter.

Then look for these features in the shoes you choose –

  • close cropped soles to prevent tripping
  • space for movement and growth built in
  • soft leather uppers for cool comfortable feet
  • light, flexible soles to aid development of walking
  • whole and half sizes and a choice of widths to find the correct fit
  • fully adjustable fastenings
  • padded ankle for protection and support

At this age most children learn to run and perform little standing jumps.

Once they reach this stage you will need shoes that can take some punishment and still look good.

Infant shoes need room to grow without sacrificing fit.

Toddler

As your child grows, you will pass many other milestones together. First birthday, first words, as well as other occasions.

While all this is happening your child’s feet and their walking continue to develop all the time.

By the time your child is a fully-fledged toddler they will clearly walk very differently from when they took those first steps.

Arms are no longer used for balance so they can be used to pick up (and throw down!) things that catch their eye.

Knees and feet now point forward as the hip joints are fully in place.

Ankles and knees now flex too, reducing the shock that leads to head movement and, in turn, tumbles.

However walking is still flat footed (which is what can make can make toddlers look clumsy) so light and flexible soles are still vital.

Don’t be concerned by their feet appearing ‘flat’ at this age as it is all part of  a developing foot.

If you would like any more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Why do I have localised foot pain?

Why do I have pain in specific parts of my foot?

This is where the pain is usually sharp or persistent and is often focused on a single point or area.

Toes

Our nails tend to grow more slowly and more thickly as we get older. This is often a result of reduced circulation and years of bashing them against the inside of the end of shoes which make them thicken.

Nails

Nails are protection for the end of a toe. Trauma or repeat stress stimulates the body’s protective mechanism making the nails thicker so they offer more protection. This increases the pressure on the end of the toe and makes the sore and the nails harder to cut. One person in 50 will develop a condition called onychogryphosis. A thickened nail that looks like a ram’s horn – unsightly and painful when pressing against shoes.

This can occur at any age but is more likely as we get older.

What’s the best technique for nail cutting?

Use a file and a good pair of nail clippers on thick nails. Clippers are sharper and have a different cutting action to scissors which can split the nail. Have a bath first and, if you have a partner, and good eyesight, you can always cut each other’s toe nails.

What can we do for you?

People with onychogryphosis benefit from visiting a Podiatrist.

Thickened nails often need to be reduced and shaped with an electric file before they can be cut. This reduces discomfort, pressure and maintains the foot in better condition and prevents it from getting worse.

Why do I suffer joint pain?

One person in six over 50 will develop osteoarthritis in the mid-foot. According to a recent study at Keele University’s Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre. Osteoarthritis is characterised by inflammation around the joints, damage to cartilage and swelling, which causes pain, stiffness and restricts movement. Sometimes it causes bony bumps on the top of the foot. It is possible to develop osteoarthritis just in the feet.

What can I do about osteoarthritis pain?

The foot comprises 26 bones, 12 of which are in the mid-section. A big hip joint is well designed to take the whole body weight but that same weight has to go through each individual bone and small joint in the mid-foot. Risk factors include genetic predisposition, injury to the area and overuse.

Runners and people who stand for a living are more likely to develop problems. Good trainer-type shoes will help to minimise stress to the feet.

Losing weight can ease pressure on joints as well as judicious use of orthotic insoles.

What can your Podiatrist do for foot pain?

If you have pain in the mid-foot or the arch, see one of our Podiatrists for assessment and treatment plan. Advice will usually consist of management and guidance on footwear, padding and exercise but may include onward referral to an orthopedic consultant.

Is my pain due to corns or verrucas?

Commonly found over a joint surface, between the toes or on the sole of the foot, corns are a common cause of pain. They are usually caused by pressure and friction. Corns are areas of callous with a hard central portion that focuses pressure on the underlying structure and can cause momentary, eye-watering pain when compressed. They are formed of dead skin and have no blood supply.

A verruca is different because it is a viral infection of the skin and has a blood supply. Verrucas can also cause pain because they are also rich in nerve tissue. This means that when they are compressed – they hurt!

What is the treatment for corns?

Your Podiatrist can remove your corn completely but if the pressure and friction remain, they will grow back in time. Shoes are a common cause of corns and a change of footwear type can bring relief. Appropriate padding can also help.

Verrucas present a different problem and some treatment options can be found here.

What else could be causing my foot pain?

There are other possibilities including trauma, bruising, Morton’s neuroma, or a foreign body such as a piece of glass or an embedded hair.

If you would like more information, or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

My child has flat feet – do I need to worry?

Flat feet in children

As Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry, we are often asked to look at the feet of young children as their parents ask – ‘My child has flat feet – do I need to worry?’.

All typically developing children are born with flexible flat feet. However, they progressively develop a medial longitudinal arch (the arch that runs down the inside of the foot) during the first decade of their lives.

While a child’s foot is expected to be flat, there is currently no consensus as to how flat this foot should be and while feet are seen to decrease in flatness with increasing age, it is not known how flat they should be at each any given age.

So, is it possible to define the postural characteristics, how flat is too flat and what is to be expected? What is a ‘typically’ developing paediatric (child’s) foot?

One way to is to compare all data currently published describing the typical development of the paediatric foot.

Looking at thirty-four epidemiological (incidence, distribution, and control) papers regarding the development of the paediatric foot, sixteen different common foot posture assessments were identified which used a footprint to measure the reported outcome.

What resulted were some interesting conclusions.

Firstly, the use of the term normal in relation to foot posture is misleading.

There is no such thing as normal in the categorisation of the paediatric foot, a flat foot posture is an expected finding at different ages.

Secondly, the foot posture of the developing child is indeed age-dependent and has been observed and demonstrated to change over time.

Therefore no firm conclusion can be reached as to which age the foot posture of children ceases to develop further because no two foot measures are comparable.

One of the problems with current research is that there is no consensus on how to measurement of the paediatric foot, using valid and reliable assessment tools.

What this means for parents is that if they are concerned about their children’s feet being too flat, they need to consult a Podiatrist so that each case can be assessed on its own merits.

If you would like more information, to make an appointment or to speak to one of our Podiatrist then call our reception team on 01628 773588 or email us at info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk

Aging Feet?

Aging feet? Do your feet feel like they are getting older before the rest of you? The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry explain what might be happening.

Older feet naturally develop more problems. The skin tends to thin and lose it’s elasticity. Healing can take longer and wear and tear to the joints over the years may have caused some degree of arthritis.

However painful and uncomfortable feet aren’t a natural part of growing old or something you have to “put-up with”. A lot can be done to improve comfort, relieve pain and maintain mobility.

It’s not too late to start a new routine.

Follow a daily foot care routine and keep on the move. Keeping toenails trimmed and filed will help keep you mobile but you may need help with this from your chiropodist/podiatrist or a friend.

Keep your feet as warm as possible, but not by warming them in front of the fire! Warm stockings or socks can help.

Avoid anything too tight which can restrict your circulation or cramp your toes. Wearing fleece-lined boots or shoes or even an extra pair of socks will also keep you warm but do make sure your shoes aren’t tight as a result. Bed socks are also a good idea.

The older you get, the more you need a shoe which holds your foot firmly in place to give adequate support. Throw out sloppy old favourites as they may make you unstable when you walk.

Look for shoes with uppers made of soft leather or a stretchy man-made fabric which is also breathable. Avoid plastic ‘easy clean’ uppers which don’t allow the foot to breathe and won’t stretch to accommodate your own foot shape.

Many shoes have cushioning or shock absorbing soles to give you extra comfort while walking. When buying shoes, ensure that you can put them on and take them off easily. Check that the heel is held firmly in place – you’ll find that a lace-up or velcro fastening shoe will give more support and comfort than a slip-on.

Your shoes should be roomy enough, particularly, if you intend to wear them everyday. If you suffer with swollen feet, it’s a good idea to put your shoes on as soon as you wake up, before your feet have had a chance to swell.

Exercise can help to keep feet healthy – it tones up muscles, helps to strengthen arches and stimulates blood circulation.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment, call us on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

How do you choose the right footwear?

At Maidenhead Podiatry, our Podiatrists are often asked, ‘how do you choose the right footwear?’

Keeping your feet healthy is only part of preventing foot problems, is also essential that you wear well-fitting shoes.

So it doesn’t matter if walking, dancing or pounding the pavements is your choice of exercise in 2010, The Society of Chiropodist and Podiatrists offers the following advice to help keep feet fighting fit.

Feet have a rough time of it; we demand a lot of them, they carry us the equivalent of five times around the earth in an average lifetime, and yet we give them less attention than they deserve and we rarely wear the best shoes for our feet.

In an average lifetime, we walk about 100,000 miles, which is tough on our feet. Yet our bodies were designed for moving – not standing still, so walking is good exercise for us and our feet.

Walking helps the muscles and ligaments in our feet to work more efficiently, helping keep them supple and flexible. So whether your job requires you to sit for extended periods, or work from home, try to get up and walk briskly for at least 30 mins every day.

Feet are adaptable and can withstand a lot of pressure before they complain. If you walk a lot it’s important to wear the correct footwear which won’t damage your feet.

Registered Chiropodists/podiatrists will be able to give advice on suitable footwear. They will be able to suggest suitable ‘warm up’ exercises to ease you gently into your chosen sport, and help prevent injury.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment, call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.