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Monday, 26 December 2016 13:49

Solutions for Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can make life very frustrating and embarrassing when sandal season comes around. Not only are they an aesthetic issue, they can also tear stockings, socks, and even wear out our shoes faster. When severe, they may cause pain or infection.

Cracked heels are a problem for those who are athletic, who may walk a lot, and who have dry skin especially. Those who use medication that dry the skin, swim often, wear certain types of shoes, and who are diabetic may have trouble with cracked heels. Seniors whose skin produces less oil may also have trouble with cracked feet. There is no one way to develop cracked feet, and there is no cure.

Today, the market consists of numerous products that have a variety of ingredients to promote healing. Some of these are over-the-counter. Others are prescribed by a doctor, especially for those who have chronic dry feet and heels.

Some doctors recommend wearing socks at night for those with rough skin. This helps further healing, and helps creams stay on longer and better absorb into the skin.

One way to alleviate dryness that causes cracked heels is by using moisturizers both day and night. Another way is to make sure the skin is clean and dry at all times. Using a pumice stone to remove dead skin before putting on moisturizer can also help. Cracked heels will not respond to the cream unless the outer layer of skin is first removed through exfoliation. After exfoliation, lotion or ointment will be absorbed by the skin more easily.

Foods that produce healing and balance can also help the skin from within. Everything that is put into the body can either help it or hurt it. Taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc can also be very beneficial.

Nevertheless, not all products are guaranteed to help treat cracked feet. Seeing a professional is best if other treatments options were unsuccessful. A podiatrist should be able to give the best advice to help with this problem.

Monday, 05 December 2016 13:44

Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Highly active people (athletes in particular), or those with a very sedentary lifestyle, are very prone to stress fractures. When muscles weaken—either from too much or too little use—the muscles cease providing cushion for the foot and ankle as they impact the ground. As there is very little to protect the bones in your feet, each step you take causes the bones to absorb the full impact, and this causes cracks to form, or stress fractures, to form in the pressurized bones.

Basketball, tennis, and gymnastics are three of the top activities in which stress fractures appear consistently and frequently. On the other side however, those people who have previously lived an inactive lifestyle may incur a fracture when transitioning abruptly to an active lifestyle—such as those starting a high-impact, intensive workout. The muscles, unused to such vigorous work, are not used to handling and cushioning against a vigorous activity. Also, those patients who suffer from osteoporosis, or any condition in which their bones are weakened, frequently suffer stress fractures simply from normal wear and tear.

At the localized site of the fracture (typically where the symptoms originate) the pain can be immense. Sharp or dull pain is paired with swelling and possibly tenderness—engaging in any kind of further activity, especially high-impact, is highly discouraged. Though stress fractures heal in time, they are not as serious as say, when you receive one and continue engaging in high-impact activity; the condition may turn into a full fracture. A full fracture is very serious and may prevent usage of the foot wholesale.

From this point, treatment can vary patient to patient with the severity of the fracture. Rest is absolutely required for the foot. Fractures vary in healing time, some can be healed with short bursts of rest, and others require prolonged periods of resting paired with crutches. In cases in which the fracture is very serious, surgery may be authorized to install pins supporting the fracture and aiding in healing.

Prevention is always the best medicine. Calcium and Vitamin D are a must in the diet as they aid the fortifying and strengthening of bones. If you are a newcomer to high-impact activity, it is very important to gradually build the level of vigor on a weekly basis so as to create the requisite muscular strength. Supportive and adequately protective shoes are also a must. Consider switching up routines; if you walk every day, consider switching to biking to lower the stress on your feet.

On diagnosis of a stress fracture—immediately cease the activity that caused the fracture and rest! Prevention is always your first step, however, if relief of the symptoms does not occur naturally and within a reasonable time frame, an orthopedic specialist is highly recommended.

Following the above suggestions will allow you to prevent stress fractures and let you lead as active a life as you could wish.

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