Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Exercise and healthy feet

Over the last few years, I have spent months training for Hustle up the Hancock, which is a stair climbing race up the John Hancock Building in Chicago. Participants climb 94 flights of stairs. Anyhow, I decided this would be a great topic for the blog this week because I talk to all of my patients about the importance of exercise and their feet. Obviously, I do not recommend that my patients climb 94 flights of stairs to keep their feet healthy, but I do recommend a regular exercise program. Each patient is different and has different needs. For example, biking and swimming are great exercises for many people with foot pain. However, obese patients, elderly patients, or people with certain injuries maynbe better off with chair exercises, stretches, or only upper body programs. Exercising keeps the body strong and healthy, and in the case of the feet, helps with circulation or blood flow to the feet. For some patients, it helps to control or reduce blood sugar and blood pressure. For others, it keeps arthritic joints mobile and comfortable. The important thing is to be active regularly and consistently for good health. In my case, I like to have a goal to work toward (like Hustle up the Hancock), so this is very motivating for me. Keep your feet healthy and get regular exercise! Dr. Bender, oakparkpodiatry.com Now open on Mondays only in Forest Park, and Monday through Friday in Oak Park!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Supportive shoes and kids

As a working mom, I happily treat many families and children in my office. Every time a child comes into the office, I talk about caring for their feet, and often, adults are surprised that their children's feet require different care than their own. Children are not mini adults! For example, kids feet grow and can grow rapidly at times, requiring new shoe gear purchases much faster than parents may think. One small adult finger should extend from the child's longest toe to the end of the shoe. If the toes are hitting the end of the shoe, the shoe is too small. It is important to check this regularly, as shoes that are too small can cause pain, blistering, ingrown nails, infections, and foot deformities. The shoes should also have enough room for the toes to move. If the toes are compressed with pointed shoes or stiff material, foot problems can occur. It is also very important that shoes cannot be twisted, bent, or rolled into a ball. Thus, many popular brands and styles of shoes that kids like may not be adequately supporting and stabilizing their feet. More supportive options now come in a variety of colors to make them fun for kids. Finally, children should not be wearing high heeled shoes. High heels place extra pressure on the forefoot, and this can lead to long term problems. The bones in children's feet are still growing until age eighteen in most kids, so it is important to provide a good, structurally sound shoe to promote healthy foot development and growth. Plus, the child is more comfortable in these types of shoes! Look for tips below from the APMA on kids feet and shoes. Shoe Buying Tips from the APMA (American Pediatric Medical Association), apma.org: Children's Feet Change With Age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child's feet grow. Shoes That Don't Fit Properly Can Aggravate the Feet. Always measure a child's feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation. Never Hand Down Footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn't mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete's foot and nail fungus. Examine the Heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist. Take Your Child Shoe Shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a kid have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road. Always Buy for the Larger Foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size. Buy Shoes That Do Not Need a “Break-In” Period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your kid try on shoes with socks or tights, if that's how they'll be worn.