Foot and Ankle Center Blog

Posts for tag: Proper Footwear

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
March 30, 2017
Category: Foot Care

Flip Flop FeetAs the temperatures rise and the weather begins to heat up, many will stay cool by slipping on a pair of their favorite flip-flops. Whether you are hitting the beach or simply walking around town, flip-flops are often our selected footwear of choice for those hot, summer months. Unfortunately, wearing flip-flops can lead to painful foot ailments, including cuts and abrasions, broken toes and painful sprains. The flip-flops that are widely purchased today can be extremely unsafe for your feet. 

Some flip-flops can be cushioned, which lead people to believe that they are good for your feet, but most offer little to no arch support. Flip-flops can also be very flimsy, which causes them to break down quickly. Shoes that do not offer proper arch support can lead to biomechanical abnormalities starting when the heel strikes the ground. This, in turn, can lead to pain felt in the joints of your foot and ankle, as well as in the knees, hips, lower back, shoulders and neck. If you wear flip-flops, wear them with caution and in moderation. It is important to assess how long you can wear flip-flops on an individual basis and to be aware of the effects they can have on your body.

Tension for Your Toes

Wearing flip-flops may feel like the next best thing to going barefoot, but your feet are working a lot harder than you may realize. By wearing flip-flops, you are forcing a change in your walking stride. With each step you take, your toes pull down on the shoe to stabilize the foot against the ground because your foot has to work harder to keep the flip-flop on. Forcing your toes to act in this unnatural manner can cause toe pain and even stubbed toes.

Problematic Heel Pain

It is estimated by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons that about 15 percent of all adult foot injuries involve plantar fasciitis, which is an awful pain caused by the overstretching of a tendon in your heel called the plantar fascia. By wearing flip-flops, you are increasing your risk of developing heel pain. While many people don’t want to give up flip-flops, it's important to understand that if you are going to the beach, wear them. However, if you are going to the mall or even an amusement park, don’t wear them. 

Wear the Right Shoes for Your Activity

When choosing footwear for summer or vacation, it is important to follow these guidelines for healthy feet:

  • Shoes should be lightweight and ventilated.
  • Have an extra pair of shoes and alternate between them daily so that each pair has a chance to dry out completely.
  • Wear socks that are made of an acrylic fiber, not cotton, as acrylic draws moisture away from the feet.
  • Change your socks at least once a day.

Flip-flops should not be worn as everyday shoes—they are meant for the beach and the pool, not for everyday walking. Wearing flip-flops for an occasional stroll may be fine, but you should never overdo it.

If you feel pain in your foot or ankle, visit your podiatrist for further diagnosis and treatment. You can prevent painful foot conditions and injuries by wearing appropriate footwear and avoiding flip-flops. 

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
February 02, 2017
Category: Foot Care

Back To School FootwearBackpacks, paper, pencils and clothes are just a few of the things your youngster may need before the start of a new school year. When shopping for your child during back-to-school season and throughout the year, don’t forget to add proper fitting shoes to your shopping list.  

Your child’s feet are rapidly changing and growing. In fact, feet grow so fast when kids are young that parents are often surprised at how often they need to change shoes sizes to accommodate the growth.  

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, parents should consider a few things when selecting shoes for their little one. Remember these tips the next time you buy a new pair of shoes for your child:

  • Proper size: Ill-fitting footwear can lead to irritation and other problems, so always measure your child’s feet before buying a new pair of shoes. Because feet are seldom the same size, always buy shoes for your child’s larger foot.
     
  • Avoid sharing shoes:  Hand-me-down shoes can spread fungi such as nail fungus and athlete’s foot.
     
  • Index finger: As a general rule, leave an index finger's width from the top of the big toe to the end of the shoe.
     
  • Breathing room: Buy shoes made of natural, breathable fabrics that are soft and pliable like your child’s feet.
     
  • Test them out: Always bring your child with you to the store to try on shoes before purchasing a new pair. When testing out shoes, the child should wear the socks that they would normally wear to ensure proper fit. Have your child walk around the store to test comfort and fit.
     
  • Examine the shoe itself: Your child’s shoe should have a firm heel counter, adequate cushioning of the insole, good flexibility and a built-in arch.

Because kids’ feet are soft and pliable, pressure on them at a young age can easily cause foot problems and deformity. By promoting healthy footwear choices and consulting your podiatrist whenever you suspect your child has a foot problem, you can ensure the healthy development of their feet.

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
November 01, 2016
Category: Foot Care

Children's FeetLike adults, children and adolescents can experience a variety of foot and ankle problems. Many foot problems, such as flat foot, are congenital, while problems like heel pain are usually the result of an injury.  

Due to your child’s rapidly growing bones and tendons, many symptoms associated with foot and ankle problems can go unnoticed. For this reason, it is important parents pay attention to even subtle symptoms. Thorough, regular exams of your child's feet by a podiatrist may detect an underlying defect or condition and help minimize problems later in life.

Common Foot Problems

Children can experience a variety of foot problems, many of which go away as the child’s feet become more developed. This includes pigeon toes, flat feet and knock knees. In most cases, these congenital foot and leg problems do not require any medical intervention. 

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are common in children, especially during warm months when kids are more likely to walk barefoot.  Forming on the bottom of the feet, these warts are caused by a virus that enters the skin, most often in public areas such as pools or locker rooms.  The condition can be very uncomfortable — like walking on a small pebble or stone — but is also highly preventable and treatable.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are very common foot injuries for active kids, especially those who participate in sports. Sprains occur when the ligaments supporting the ankle are stretched or torn. Mild ankle sprains heal with treatment, while severe tearing may require more extensive care, including extended immobilization followed by physical therapy. As a general rule, rest, ice, compress and elevate the child’s ankle immediately following the injury.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when one or both sides of the nail begin to break through and grow into the soft skin of the toe. This can lead to painful irritation and infection. Common causes of ingrown toenails include poorly fitting footwear, toe injuries or poor nail trimming. Caught early, a child’s ingrown toenail can be treated at home, but if the pain persists or the condition worsens, treatment by a podiatrist is necessary to eliminate the infection.

Choose Proper Footwear

Many pre-existing foot conditions can be relieved and new problems prevented by simply ensuring your child is wearing proper shoes. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters, calluses and corns on the toes and heels. Ingrown toenails can also develop and become infected. A child’s feet are constantly growing and developing, so it may be necessary to change shoe size every few months. Additionally, shoes have a tendency to lose proper cushioning and arch support over time. Footwear that shows a lack of shock absorption or wear and tear should also be replaced to reduce the risk for injuries.  

If you notice your child limping, constantly rubbing their feet, tripping frequently or consistently complaining of foot pain, then have them examined by your podiatrist or physician. Many problems can be easily identified and treated, and early intervention is the key.

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
May 02, 2016
Category: Foot Care

Running Shoes

If you’re a runner, you know that your shoes are an integral piece of equipment when it comes to comfort, performance and injury prevention. Your foot type and function will determine which type of running shoe will be best for your unique needs and training regimen. A shoe must properly fit the shape and design of your foot before you can train in it comfortably.

There are several factors to consider when searching for a new running shoe. These may include:

  • Foot structure

  • Foot function

  • Body type

  • Existing foot problems

  • Biomechanical needs

  • Training regimen

  • Environmental factors

  • Previously worn running shoe

Failing to replace old, worn shoes is a major cause of running injuries, as old shoes gradually lose their stability and shock absorption capacity. The typical lifespan of a pair of running shoes is approximately 500 miles. It’s important to keep track of their mileage to avoid overuse.

Helpful tips for choosing your shoes include:

  • Go to a reputable shoe store that specializes in running footwear

  • Bring your old/current running shoes with you

  • Know your foot type, shape as well as any problems you’ve previously experienced

  • Have your feet measured

  • Wear the same socks you wear when training

  • Try on both shoes, and give them a test run

If you’re a beginning runner and just starting your training regimen, then it’s a good idea to visit our office for an evaluation. Your podiatrist will examine your feet, identify potential problems and discuss the best running shoes for your foot structure and type. Seasoned runners should also visit their podiatrist periodically to check for potential injuries.

Don’t allow poor shoes choices derail your training program and jeopardize your running goals. A proper-fitting running shoe is an invaluable training tool that allows you to perform your best without injury or pain. The correct footwear, in combination with a proper training routine and professional attention from a skilled podiatrist, is the key to minimizing faulty foot mechanics and maximizing your performance.

By Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois
April 22, 2014
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Proper Footwear   Foot Health   Walking  

WalkingLooking for a safe, easy and inexpensive way to stay healthy, increase your energy level and improve your figure? Start walking. Walking is one of the easiest and most popular forms of exercise, and when done properly, can significantly improve your health.

The basic kind of walking -- often called healthwalking -- can be done almost anywhere and at any time, year around. And for individuals with a long history of inactivity or problems with obesity, walking is an excellent way to begin an exercise program.

If the Shoe Fits- Get Walking

Footwear plays a vital role in the duration and achievement of your walking routine, and shoes that don't fit properly or that lack support can lead to foot pain or injuries, such as blisters, corns, calluses, nail fungus and plantar fasciitis.

Not sure which shoe will offer you the most support? Come into our Springfield office for an examination. We can help determine the best shoe for your feet based on your arch, walking experience and foot mechanics. Your shoes should be well-cushioned and stable, offering you comfort and fit that enables you to walk smoothly and without discomfort.

Keep Your Feet Healthy

To gain the most health benefit from walking, it's important to pay close attention to your feet. Trim your nails regularly, keep your feet clean and dry, and inspect your feet for signs of sores, blisters, corns, calluses or other infections. Serious foot ailments, such as bunions or hammertoes, should be checked by our Springfield office before you begin your exercise regimen.

Once you're ready to hit the road, you'll want set appropriate goals based on your overall health and walking experience. Start slow and build upon your distance gradually. And don't forget to stretch in order to prevent injury and keep muscles loose.

Walking is meant to be safe, easy and fun, but in order to do so, you must have healthy feet. Experiencing foot pain and discomfort isn't normal. Talk with a podiatrist at Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois if you encounter any problems while walking. Every step you take is one step closer to a healthier lifestyle. So what are you waiting for? Take a stroll in the mall, walk your dog in the park, or grab a friend and go for a leisurely walk around your neighborhood. It's easy and fun, and when done regularly can lead to a healthier you!