Posts for: December, 2017
With every step you take, you put pressure on certain areas of your feet. If you notice pain, sores or wounds developing on your feet, it’s time to see a podiatrist. One of the most common solutions for this problem is offloading.
What Is Offloading?
Offloading is a medical term for relieving pressure on a part of the body. In podiatry, offloading refers to reducing pressure to areas of the foot to reduce pain and “trauma” to those areas. Offloading is commonly used to discuss diabetic foot care, as some people with this medical condition also have problems with diabetic foot ulcers (DFU).
Diabetic Foot Ulcers
It’s estimated that about 15 percent of patients who are diagnosed with diabetes develop diabetic foot ulcers. These are wounds (sometimes painless) that develop over time due to a combination of applying too much pressure to certain areas of the foot when walking and complications related to high blood glucose levels. It’s also exasperated by wearing poorly made shoes. Diabetic foot ulcers can become infected and lead to hospital stays when they go untreated. They must be thoroughly cleaned, debrided and treated to eliminate the infection.
Offloading is a set of techniques designed to help patients who have problems with foot ulcers and similar sores because of pressure to certain parts of the foot. Common offloading solutions include:
- Wearing specially designed foot casts.
- Prescribing orthotic walkers to assist with walking.
- Designing custom orthotic shoes that will better distribute pressure throughout the foot.
- Physical therapy to improve the way the patient walks.
Protecting Your Feet
In addition to exploring offloading solutions with your podiatrist, you can also take actions at home to relieve or prevent the symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers:
- Wear comfortable shoes, preferably made of leather, that don’t put too much pressure on one area of the foot, such as the arch or the toes. Flip-flops are a no-no.
- Clean and bandage your feet and the wound every day.
- Keep your blood sugar levels in balance to aid in the healing process.
It’s important that you keep an open line with your podiatrist in case a foot ulcer or similar wound becomes infected. Offloading is the best solution to ensure that these sores heal and are prevented from developing in the future.
Dancing is a beautiful artistic endeavor, but, unfortunately, it can cause a number of footrelated conditions in the artist. If you’re a dancer, whether it’s for fun or your profession, learn more about dancing and how it can affect your feet. It’s wise to maintain regular appointments with a trusted podiatrist to ensure the ongoing health of your feet.
How Dancing Puts Wear and Tear on Your Feet
Some people don’t realize that dancing is a very demanding sport. Dancers put as much wear, tear and strain on their feet as sports athletes do. Ballerinas, in particular, have to manage a variety of foot and toerelated complications because of their shoes and the need to dance on tiptoes. Ballroom dancers also spend hours on their feet, performing complex movements that involve their feet, toes, ankles and legs. Even hiphop and step dancers often have problems due to putting frequent pressure on certain areas of the feet and stomping down on them.
Common foot conditions related to dancing include:
- Corns and calluses
- Bruises, wounds and ulcers around the toes or underfoot
- Hammertoe syndrome
- Heel spurs/plantar fasciitis
- Missing toenails
Pull Out Your “Dancing Shoes”
The shoes that you wear while dancing can have a major effect on the health of your feet. Invest in shoes or orthotics that are specifically designed for the type of dancing that you enjoy—even if they are a bit more expensive than what you find in regular stores. For instance, female ballroom dancers need highheeled dancing shoes that can absorb shock, cushion the heel and relieve pressure on the parts of the foot that often come in hard contact with the floor. Flexible orthotic insoles are available for ballet shoes that can help give the feet more support.
Foot Therapy for Dancers
Regular visits to your podiatrist are also crucial to keeping your feet healthy when you’re a dancer. Podiatrists can help by administering physical therapy and foot exercises designed to strengthen the tendons and muscles of your feet. Ice massage and soaking the feet can also help to relieve symptoms. A podiatrist may also prescribe NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) for pain relief.
You can pursue the art of dancing without sacrificing the health and wellness of your feet. Schedule a visit with a podiatrist to talk about preventative solutions and relief of symptoms that you’re currently experiencing.