3 Ways To Painproof Your Heels

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Podiatrist Dover, NHDo you suffer from heel pain? You’re not alone. Try these simple tricks to prevent and treat it:

Bad habits that can hurt your feet—and how to avoid them.

About 40% of people have heel pain, making it the most common foot problem by a mile, found a survey from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Luckily, these three prevalent causes are also the easiest to prevent.

DO YOU: Exercise in old sneakers?
The risk: Worn soles can cause plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue band (fascia) connecting the heel to the toes.
The fix: Replace shoes every 350 to 500 miles (or about every 3 to 6 months), or when the soles look beat up. (Find your perfect shoe with our favorite sneakers of the year.)

DO YOU: Spend the summer in flip-flops?
The risk: Little support in the arch and heel of these sandals can strain and stretch the fascia and Achilles tendon, which attaches calf muscles to the heel.
The fix: Wear sandals with arch support and that bend at the ball of the foot (not in the middle) to allow for a normal stride.

DO YOU: Sit for most of the day?
The risk: Your calf muscles tighten up. When you walk, tight muscles can pull on the ligaments and tendons that attach to the heels, altering your gait.
The fix: Stretch by your desk. Facing a wall from 3 feet away, with feet flat on the floor and knees locked, lean forward and hold for 10 seconds as calf muscles stretch, then relax. Repeat 5 times.

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7 Essentials Of A Running Shoe That Won’t Wreck Your Feet

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Running ShoesYeah, you could run in those cute walking shoes or older-than-dirt trainers, but please don’t. “When you run, you hit the ground with force greater than two times your own body weight,” says Jeff Dengate, shoes and gear editor at Runner’s World. “Running shoes are built with higher-quality, lightweight materials that help lessen that impact.”

While a good pair can easily set you back $100-plus, making the investment now could save you a boatload later in potential doctors and PT bills. Be sure your new pair meets the following criteria: 

1. Has enough toe length Feet swell when you run, so aim for a thumbnail-length of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Don’t be surprised if you wind up in a ½- or full size larger than your street shoes.

2. Has enough toe width Squished-in toes equal blisters. Make sure there’s some wiggle room in the toe box.

3. Skips seams Look for a seamless upper (seams can rub, causing blisters) that comfortably hugs the top of your foot.

4. Has the right arch The arch should contour to the shape of your foot. You may need to add an insert for a more customized fit.

5. Holds your heel Make sure your heel stays in place before buying. Find out with a quick jog around the store (or on the treadmill if they have one).

6. Feels firm Pillowy cushion feels nice, but a firmer shoe is best if you’re coming back from an overuse or impact injury; it’ll have more spring-back on the road, minimizing stress on stabilizing muscles.

7. Flexes right Check the shoe’s flex point (where it creases when you press the toe into the floor). It should bend at the same place as your foot to ensure a natural stride.

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What You Should Know About Ingrown Toenails

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Toenails that curve over and dig into the skin of your toe are called ingrown toenails. They can cause significant pain, but are generally not serious if taken care of. If you don’t take good care of your feet though, an ingrown toenail can lead to a severe infection.

An ingrown toenail occurs when the toenail begins growing down into the skin of the toe instead of straight out and above the skin. Sometimes, the skin itself may cover the sides of the toenails, causing the nail to become embedded in the skin. An ingrown toenail can occur on any toe on the foot, but happens most frequently to the big toe.

You can easily spot an ingrown toenail — the skin actually covers the toenail. The toe may eventually become red, swollen, and quite painful. Sometimes, the skin may even feel hard or tight to the touch. If infection sets in, you may also notice a bit of drainage (pus) seeping from the skin where the nail meets it.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails happen for many different reasons but the most common cause is improper cutting of the nails. Nails should be cut in a straight line, not curved. Some causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Small toes that are not large enough to accommodate the growth of the nail. Naturally curved or thick nails can also lead to ingrown toenails.
  • Damage to the toe, following an injury like running into a piece of furniture.
  • Toenails that are cut too short or in a curved line.
  • Shoes that are too small and squeeze the toenails.

 

Risk Factors for Ingrown Toenails

If you have a congenital condition, meaning a problem present at birth, such as very large toenails, you’re at risk of developing ingrown toenails. This means that you should be extra careful to cut your toenails in a line straight across to discourage nail growth into the sides of your toes. You should also make sure that you don’t cut your toenails too short. Additionally, it’s very important to wear comfortable shoes that don’t cramp your toes, which can increase your chances of an ingrown toenail.

Diagnosing Ingrown Toenails

If you suspect you may have an ingrown toenail, it is best to see your podiatrist. He or she can help diagnose an ingrown toenail and figure out what’s causing it — if there’s an underlying problem that needs treatment, or if you’re just wearing the wrong shoes or not cutting your toenails correctly. A podiatrist can also treat the problem, and take care of any infection that may be present. While there are things you can do yourself to ease the pain of an ingrown toenail, such as warm foot soaks, topical or oral antibiotics, it’s recommended to see your foot doctor. Knowing what causes an ingrown toenail can help you prevent the painful condition. If you frequently experience ingrown toenails, see a podiatrist so that you can receive proper treatment.