A Podiatrist’s Guide to Basic Foot Care

Why is basic foot care so important?

basic foot care tips

Perhaps you remember the old song:

Your foot bone’s connected to your ankle bone;
your ankle bone’s connected to your knee bone;
your knee bone’s connected to your thigh bone;
your thigh bone’s connected to your hip bone … and so on?

In fact, your feet aren’t just connected, they bear the weight of the rest of your body.

This is why foot problems can impact areas further up the skeletal system, such as your knees, hips, back, etc. If your feet are sore, your body will compensate and place undue strain on other areas.

After 20 years as a Redlands podiatrist, I’ve seen many sad, neglected and abused feet – and the suffering they can cause. So today I thought I’d share with you my top ten tips to promote foot health and hygiene.

10 Basic Foot Care Tips

  1. Wash your feet every day with soapy warm water. You don’t have to soak them; just give them a couple of minutes’ wash. Make sure you dry well between the toes to prevent infection, which is particularly important with our Brisbane climate. With all that heat and humidity, moisture trapped between the toes provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and infection.
  2. Cut your toe nails straight across. Don’t go down at the edges, or you run the risk of ingrown toenails.
  3. Moisturise your feet regularly. I recommend using a good quality cream such as sorbolene with Vitamin E. Tea tree oil is also great, as it has anti-fungal as well as moisturising properties.
  4. Remove dry dead skin. Tackle your heels, calluses, or any other patches of dry dead skin, with a pumice stone or similar.basic foot care
  5. Limit wearing of high heels where possible. If you wear heels to work every day, at least take a good pair of running shoes and change into them for the walk to and from the bus or train, or if you are stepping out at lunch time.
  6. Shop for shoes in the afternoon. Our feet swell throughout the day, so what seems a perfect fit first thing in the morning will likely pinch your feet by nightfall. By trying on shoes in the afternoon, you can guarantee a comfortable fit.
  7. Change your socks daily. We can perspire up to ¾ to 1 cup of sweat a day – solely (excuse the pun) through our feet! And please, wear socks in sports shoes. Let your sock be the sponge, not your shoe, otherwise the bacteria living on your sweat will create “stinky shoes”.
  8. Rotate your footwear. You don’t have to be Imelda Marcos – whatever constitutes 80% of your week, have at least a couple of pairs on rotation. Use them on alternate days, and leave the pair you aren’t wearing in front of a window, or somewhere they can dry out.
  9. Preventing infection. Avoid fungus or plantar warts by wearing flip flops or thongs in communal areas – think swimming pools, amenities blocks when camping, motels, etc.
  10. Finally, your feet should be comfortable. If you are experiencing foot pain and discomfort regularly, this is not normal or just a sign of ageing. Ignoring foot pain could result in a chronic long term problem.

If you have any foot pain, questions or concerns, you can make an appointment at our Redlands podiatry clinic today on 3207 4736. 

Kids School Shoes: A Parent’s Guide

Summer holidays have just begun, but before we know it the back to school rush will be upon us!

Perhaps you have never thought of talking to your local podiatrist about your kids’ school shoes – yet we are the experts in all things foot care!

We can also offer professional fitting for kids school shoes.

professional fitting for kids school shoes

We can help answer your questions, such as:

  • Why are good school shoes so important?
  • Are leather school shoes better?
  • Should we choose velcro fastening or lace up school shoes?
  • What shoe will best suit a wide foot?

In addition to providing valuable advice, at Trevor Lane Podiatry we offer a good range of school shoes – for the littlest preppie, right through to the adult sizes needed by the end of high school – as well as a professional fitting service.

We recommend parents check their kids’ school shoes in early to mid January, as there can be a bit of a rush at the end of January and stocks can run low.

Why are good school shoes so important?

As a parent myself, I’m quite particular about the features I want in my kids school shoes! So you can be assured of quality, stability and support in the range we offer. Here are just some of the reasons why good school shoes are so important:

  • Your child’s feet can grow up to 17 sizes in the first 11 or 12 years – expertly fitted school shoes allow for correct bone and muscle development, preventing potential problems down the track.
  • Poorly fitting school shoes can actually cause damage, or increase the risk of injury such as a sprained ankle.
  • A quarter of the bones in your child’s body are located in their foot – they deserve to be looked after!
  • Your child will be wearing their school shoes for at least 30 hours a week.
  • School shoes aren’t just for school! You want to be sure your child has a good quality, supportive shoe for playing and running around.

Kids school shoes by Ecco

Professional Fitting for Kids School Shoes

It is worth visiting our Redlands podiatry clinic to check your kids’ school shoes before the new school year begins. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • We are the foot doctors! Our podiatrists have trained for many years and are fully qualified in foot care. Unlike shop assistants, with only a brief training session under their belts – we are the experts.
  • A podiatrist can pick up any potential problems or foot conditions in your child, and ensure that they are fitted with the best school shoes for their individual needs.
  • Our professional shoe fitting service includes measuring the length, width, and arch length of your child’s foot, as well as using a gait scanner to check for any abnormal foot function.
  • Feet aren’t always the same size! If your child has feet of a different length or width – we can adjust the shoe precisely to each foot.

In short, not only do you get great, professional service, you can be confident we stock only the best school shoes, with full money back guarantees.

School Shoes Brands

We stock Clarks, Ecco, and also school sports shoes, and can recommend the best for your child:

  • Clarks: Clarks have a great reputation. Their shoes consist of a good quality rubber sole and leather upper, and are built to offer maximum stability to support your child’s knees and back. Clarks caters for children with wide feet, with school shoes made up to F, G and H widths.
  • Ecco: This European brand offers very high quality in kids school shoes. They are a little more expensive, but I find they are particularly suitable for the senior years, eg students in years 11 and 12 that have finished growing. Older students find that they will get at least 2 years out of these shoes. Ecco school shoes are available predominantly in one width, but it’s a very generous sizing, around a B or C.
  • School Sports Shoes: Our school sports shoes range includes Orthaheels in white and black, and Saucony, which also caters for medium and wide feet.

At our Redlands podiatry clinic, we offer foot care for the whole family – and would love to help with advice and professional fitting for kids school shoes.

Most Common Sports Injuries Seen by Podiatrists

Many of the most common sports injuries affect our feet.

This is not surprising when we remember that a quarter of the bones in our entire body are located there!

podiatrist treating sports injuries

Sport and other high impact activities can subject our feet to loads and forces of up to 10 to 15 times our body weight so it’s no wonder we treat so many sports injuries at our podiatry clinic!

Here are the five most common sports injuries we see:

Sesamoiditis

The sesamoids are two small bones beneath the joint of the big toe, within the tendons; sesamoiditis is the name given when there is an inflammation in these bones.

Sesamoiditis can occur from the type of activities commonly found in high intensity boot camps – jumping, lunges, or activities with a heavy push off or loading.

If you are experiencing a painful big toe following physical activity, it is important to visit a podiatry clinic for diagnosis and treatment. Serious long term damage can result if the bones have fractured, or blood flow has been disrupted.

Stress Fractures

Sports and exercise can also cause stress fractures – tiny hair like fractures in the bones – usually in the five long metatarsal bones of the foot. Symptoms include swelling on the top of your foot, and pain when walking.

Stress fractures are associated with repetitive activity, or a sudden increase in training level and intensity. Other factors may include ageing footwear, the training surface (eg concrete, tar, grass, artificial turf). People suffering from reduced bone density – osteoporosis – are at a much greater risk of foot fractures.

The good news is, stress fractures usually heal on their own, following periods of rest and reduced activity, but it is still wise to consult with your local podiatrist.

Turf Toe

This painful injury occurs when the forefoot catches on the ground (usually grass or artificial turf) while you are in a forward motion, causing the toe to bend upwards, outside of the normal range of movement.

A podiatrist may recommend wearing footwear with a stiffened toe box, toe strapping, and/or reduced activity, for a period of time.

Plantar Fasciitis

Foot pain which improves over the course of the day, is generally caused by plantar fasciitis. Patients often report that the first couple of steps out of bed in the morning are the most painful.

Although plantar fasciitis is common in runners, dancers and people who jump, it also affects people with reduced flexibility (eg those born with a reduced calf length), or women with a high heel habit. It is a condition which often develops in flight attendants, after years of wearing heels at work. Over time the calf muscles shorten to adapt to the heel height – and the calf becomes so tight that it is no longer possible to wear flat or low heels. This places strain on the arch of the foot, resulting in plantar fasciitis.

Your local podiatrist can prescribe treatment such as ice, heat packs, exercises, and specific footwear.

Black Bruised Big Toenail

most common sports injuries

If you have been shocked to find a black bruised big toenail when taking off your shoes, this is a sign that either:

  • The shoe doesn’t fit properly, and your toes are repeatedly knocking on the toe box.
  • Or, your feet are moving forward in the shoe. Generally patients with this problem have a narrow foot, and a lacing technique called a heel lock helps to pull the foot back into the rear two thirds of the shoe.

Often seen in runners, hikers, snow skiers and tennis players, a black bruised toenail is caused by a bleed under the nail (called a hematoma). It can be quite painful, so it’s a good idea to visit a podiatry clinic, where they can relieve the pressure under the nail.

Eventually the damaged nail will come away, but it may take as long as 6 to 12 months to fully recover.

Avoiding the Most Common Sports Injuries

If you are looking for a podiatrist treating sports injuries, give us a call on 3207 4736. We have plenty of experience, as our podiatry clinic sees a definite increase in these types of sports injuries over spring and summer, as people become more physically active.

Although we are always happy to help with foot injuries, or to answer any questions – remember, don’t go too hard too fast, because prevention is better than cure!

Healing a Sprained Ankle

I often encounter clients that say, “Ever since I had that sprained ankle, my foot has never been quite the same”.

healing a sprained ankle

Usually, they are having difficulties with things like climbing stairs, squatting and getting a good calf stretch – because the ankle feels like it is “stuck”.

A sprained ankle is a particularly common injury within certain sports such as touch football, netball and basketball. Watching my daughter play netball one weekend recently, I noticed several players experience this terrible traumatic event.

What’s Happening Inside a Sprained Ankle?

When we sprain or roll our ankle, our immediate reaction is to catch our breath from the pain, as we watch it swelling up before our very eyes. Obviously, we’ve done some ligament or muscle damage. Ouch!

What is not so commonly known however, is that when you sprain your ankle, you have also:

  • placed incredible abnormal forces on the bones and joints in your foot and surrounding structures. With 26 bones and 43 joints in the foot, there is a lot of potential for something to go wrong!
  • disrupted the neurological pathway connecting your foot to your brain. Normally, we don’t need to think about being able to walk; our brain automatically knows the position of our feet, and how to move them. However, a sprained ankle can affect these messages between brain and foot.

This is why people often feel that the sprained ankle just “isn’t quite right”, many months afterwards – a lot more has been impacted, than just the ligaments or muscles of the foot.

Treating a sprained ankle begins with applying ice to reduce swelling and bruising, and perhaps seeking out x-rays for potential foot fractures. For many people, that’s as far as it goes. However, it’s important to seek treatment from your local podiatrist to achieve complete healing of a sprained ankle.

How Foot Mobilisation Therapy Helps with Healing a Sprained Ankle

Foot Mobilisation Therapy is a fairly recent development in the field of podiatry. It is a simple process incorporating gentle traction or stretch, while placing the joint through the normal range of movement.

your local podiatrist

The foot mobilisation technique allows the joint to simply realign itself. Sometimes, the patient may be lucky enough to hear a click or a pop when this happens, though not always. It’s not painful, and the pop or click does not indicate any form of damage – rather, that full range of movement in the joint has been restored.

What to Expect from Your Local Podiatrist

Your local podiatrist will work with you to regain muscular strength in your foot and leg, through the use of specific exercises, often using a resistance band (or theraband).

Restoring the electrical pathways between brain and foot (and vice versa) is an important part of the healing process. Your podiatrist may apply kinetic tape, to remind your body how the foot is supposed to function; and teach you simple balance exercises.

The good news is – the days of limping for a significant period of time, resulting in potential secondary problems such as sore knees and lower back pain – are now a thing of the past.

If you are a sports lover, there is nothing worse than having to sit on the sidelines due to injury. With Foot Mobilisation Therapy, you can be back to your beloved game, faster than you ever imagined!

Did you know – we are the only Redlands podiatry clinic with podiatrists qualified to provide Foot Mobilisation Therapy? If you are suffering any pain or difficulties with movement following an ankle sprain, call for an appointment with either Trevor Lane or Lachlan Whitwell today, on 3207 4736.

What to Look for in Running Shoes

Now that Spring has arrived, there is a real surge in people running, walking and enjoying the great outdoors.

The longer days and warmer weather make it much easier to get back into regular exercise!

However, running and walking may actually have a negative impact on your body – not just your feet – if you don’t know what to look for in running shoes.

what to look for in running shoes

Common questions include: Do I need professional shoe fitting? How often should I replace my running shoes? And which brands are the best?

Do I Need New Running Shoes?

Before you lace up your old faithful running shoes, consider if they are actually up to the task.

The Upper: Is the stitching coming apart? Are there any holes, or are your toes sticking out? Does the shape of the shoe look normal, or does it lean to one side (whether in or out)?

The Outer Sole: This is the treadlike layer on the bottom of the shoe, primarily used for grip and durability. Again, check for holes and signs of uneven wear.

The Mid Sole: The most important area of your running shoe however, is the part you can’t really see – the mid sole, which is usually made of EVA foam. Brands tend to use different names for this important layer: ASICS call it gel; Nike call it air; Brooks call it hydroflow – but essentially they all do the same thing.

The primary function of the mid sole is to absorb the shock of the foot as it strikes the ground; it is also designed to control the inward roll of the foot (or pronation as your local podiatrist is likely to call it). Pronation has been linked to conditions such as shin splints, kneecap problems, hip and lower back pain.

running shoes to control pronation

Unfortunately, the mid sole foam breaks down over time – as you clock up mileage, it becomes thinner and stiffer, losing its ability to control shock and the mechanics of your foot.

On the outside of your running shoe, the mid sole may be a different colour or pattern. If you notice any creasing, it may be time for a replacement.

Another way to test the condition of your mid sole, is how your shoes feel when you wear them. If you are running on the road or on gravel, and can feel that surface under your feet, the mid sole is tiring or has collapsed.

As a general rule, your local podiatrist will recommend that if you exercise regularly, you should look at replacing your running shoes on an annual basis.

What to Look for in Running Shoes

Tried and Tested: As with many things in life, tried and tested is best. If you have a brand that you are comfortable in, that you have been walking and running in without problems, then stick to it. Don’t change your running shoe because somebody in a shoe store or a certain brand is promoting something different.

Find an Assistant Familiar with your Sport: When you walk into a shoe store, try to find an assistant with relative knowledge. If you’re a runner, try to find a sales assistant who also likes to run. If you are a tennis or netball player – do they play tennis or netball?

Professional Shoe Fitting: Of course you won’t always be able to find help from somebody experienced in the same sport. However, you should make sure that your assistant measures the length and width of your feet with a Brannock, to get a truly professional shoe fitting.

what to look for in running shoes

Try Different Brands: Different brands cater for different foot dimensions, so again don’t get caught up in trends or marketing hype. Try on two or three pairs of shoes that offer the same features, and see which ones you think feel best, and most comfortable, under your feet.

If you are having problems with finding the right running shoe, your local podiatrist can help by looking into your specific needs and issues.

In the Redlands, Trevor Lane Podiatry is your local podiatrist, offering professional shoe fitting and footwear. Call us today on 3207 4736 for personal assistance with what to look for in running shoes.

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Foot Fractures

Participating in sports such as football or basketball, or activities such as gymnastics or dancing, are the main culprits when it comes to foot fractures.

foot care tips for fractures

However, even a simple stumble or fall can result in this painful injury, which can sometimes be difficult to detect.

The Foot Care Professionals

Podiatrists are the foot care professionals, undertaking four years of training so that they can provide expert diagnosis, treatment and management of all concerns relating to the feet – toes, ankles, toenails, heels and lower limbs. In order to practice, they must also be registered, which entails keeping up to date on all the latest developments in the foot care field.

That’s why we recommend a trip to your local podiatry clinic if you suspect you have a fracture, sprain, or other foot injury. Most people think of going to a doctor, or hospital Emergency Department, not realising that a podiatrist is the expert when it comes to your feet.

Sadly, we often see patients at our podiatry clinic, who have already visited a GP or physiotherapist regarding a foot injury – but have not received the correct diagnosis. Often this is because they were never sent for an x-ray which would have revealed that a foot fracture was present.

You do not require a referral to visit a podiatry clinic, and just like a GP, we can give you a referral for an x-ray to determine if there is a fracture present. Currently there are no out of pocket expenses for these x-rays, as they are covered by Medicare.

Recovering from Foot Fractures

Once your podiatrist has arrived at a diagnosis, they can prescribe the best treatment and rehabilitation options – so you will be running around again in no time!

If you suspect that you may have a foot fracture, or just want some advice on another aspect of foot care, call us today on 3207 4736.

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