Posts for: April, 2013
With our feet bearing the weight of our entire body, it’s no surprise that carrying excess weight may increase the chance of developing foot problems. In fact, recent studies have shown that overweight people experience more heel pain, tendonitis, arthritis, ball-of-foot pain, fractures and sprains in their feet and ankles than individuals at a normal, healthy weight.
Extra weight doesn’t have to be substantial to have an impact on your feet and ankles. As little as 10 or 20 pounds can trigger pain in the lower extremities. Being overweight changes the way your foot functions, and the force on the feet intensifies.
The most common foot problems from being overweight include:
- Plantar Fasciitis: Excess weight adds strain to the plantar fascia, overusing and weakening it. This causes it to become inflamed and irritated. Heel pain is one of the most common problems caused by weight gain.
- Tendonitis: When the feet endure extra weight, it eventually causes the tendons/ligaments to be overused, which leads to injury and inflammation.
- Fallen Arches: An increase in body weight and pressure causes the supporting structures in your feet (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) to become stretched and weakened, breaking down over time. This can weaken the muscle which gives the foot its arch, causing over-pronation and leading to other problems such as knee and hip pain.
- Other effects from carrying extra weight include changes in posture, changes in gait (steps become shorter) and stress fractures.
Losing extra pounds can help ease the pain and reduce problems caused by carrying excess body weight. Unfortunately, it's tough to lose weight when your feet hurt. To combat foot problems triggered by weight gain, ease into a low-impact activity that doesn’t require you to place pressure on your foot, such as water aerobics. Always start any new workout routine slowly and work with your regular physician and podiatrist at Kenneth R. Meisler, D.P.M., P.L.L.C. & Associates to find healthy ways to modify your diet and select the best, supportive footwear for your feet.
Foot pain is never normal, regardless of weight, as it indicates some type of stress or injury. You should always consult an experienced podiatrist at our New York office if you are experiencing any pain in your foot.
Dry, cracked heels are not only unsightly, but they can also be a source of pain and embarrassment. When the fissures in your heel become so dry and cracked that bleeding or pain when walking occurs, it may be time to seek professional care from your podiatrist at Kenneth R. Meisler, D.P.M., P.L.L.C. & Associates. Left untreated, heel fissures can become so deep and painful that it leads to an infection.
Cracked heels are most commonly caused by splitting of the skin as a result of severe dryness or thickening of a callus on your heel. Severe cases of dry, cracked heels can occur for numerous reasons, including:
- Cold winter weather or dry climates
- Having diabetes
- Scrubbing feet too harshly
- Soaking in a hot bath or shower for too long or too frequently
- Not moisturizing the feet
- Increased weight
- Walking barefoot or wearing open-backed sandals or shoes
- Prolonged standing at work or home
- Chronic skin problems, such as eczema or psoriasis
Here are a few tips for keeping heels from cracking:
- Moisturize the feet daily
- Avoid walking barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes
- Opt for mild soaps that won’t dry out your heels
- Increase your water intake to keep your body hydrated
- Limit time in the shower as hot water dries out the skin
- Use a pumice stone or file as directed by your doctor to gently decrease the thick layer of skin
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What may begin as an annoyance or simple cosmetic issue, cracked heels can lead to pain and serious infection if not managed properly. Most cases of dry, cracked heels will get better with a little foot pampering or over-the-counter foot cream.
When heels are severely cracked or painful and conservative treatments aren’t effective, visit our New York office. People with diabetes are at an especially high risk for health problems and should not wait to have dry feet cared for. Severely cracked heels need moisture to avoid pain, bleeding and infection. A podiatrist can work with you to relieve your cracked heels with conservative treatment options.