6 Winter Tips for Foot and Ankle Support

Welcome to winter! Over the next couple of months, even Bigfoot’s cousin the Abominable Snowman will wish it had a cozy pair of socks to wear. Speaking of feet, did you know that they actually lose heat faster than the rest of the body? Feet interact with frigid surfaces more often than any other extremity thanks to walking. It’s a good thing there are a few different ways to keep your feet warm and ankles protected. Check out the Foot & Ankle Center’s 6 winter tips:

Bundle Up Tight

Layers are crucial when the weather is below freezing. Putting on hats, scarves, coats, and gloves is common knowledge, so bundling up your toes should be, too. One way to avoid cold feet is to double up on socks. Boots or shoes that you can fit in comfortably will also come in handy. Choose ones made from waterproof materials that include a bulky sole to help keep in as much heat as possible.

Dry Your Feet

Waterproof boots keep water out, but they also keep sweat in. A warm body produces sweat to cool itself down. That’s why it’s important to keep your feet dry at all times. A damp foot may even lead to athlete’s foot as wet socks and shoes are perfect environments for fungus to grow. Take the time to use a towel and change your socks daily.

Change Shoes Onsite

When it’s a high heel or dress shoe kind of day, pack them in a bag and wear the proper footwear outside first. You can always change when you arrive at your destination. Navigating the icy sidewalks is already difficult enough with supportive shoes. Don’t risk twisting an ankle just to look fashionable.

Inspect Sports Equipment

In order to avoid a winter sports injury, make sure to wear the proper equipment at all times. This would include ice skates for skating or hockey, and boots for skiing or snowboarding. Skating in particular leads to a few common foot injuries. Improper use of any gear, like having loose shoelaces, can result in serious fractures or sprains.

Take Advantage of Foot Warmers

Foot warmers are portable packets that reach scorching temperatures after being exposed to oxygen. Perfect for storing inside your shoe, they are an effective alternative to wearing multiple pairs of socks. However, direct contact with the skin may result in a burn injury. Take extra caution when placing and removing them.

See a Podiatrist

It’s always best to seek medical attention sooner rather than later when it comes to pain. Did you know that a podiatrist specializes in treating feet and ankles? Save yourself a trip to the doctor by calling the Foot & Ankle Center at 314-487-9300 or requesting an appointment online. Our medical staff will work to diagnose your discomfort and offer treatment as soon as possible.


10 Fun Foot-Filled Holiday Traditions You Might Not Know About

Families across the globe have all sorts of traditions that they uphold and cherish every time the holiday season approaches. Some put up an evergreen tree in their living room and adorn it with sentimental ornaments. Others bake Yule logs with Bing Crosby serenading in the background. We at The Foot & Ankle Center enjoy both the holidays and all things podiatry, so when the two combine, it’s even better. See how people throughout the world celebrate the holidays with their stockings, shoes, and feet!

Ecuador

You’ve probably made a list for Santa prior to Christmas, right? Well, if you were in Ecuador, you would write a list and place it safely into your shoes. After you leave your shoes out and head to bed, Papa Noel takes your list and replaces it with new shoes and presents. Not a bad deal at all, we say!

France

Children in France eagerly await Père Noël by neatly placing their shoes in front of the fireplace the night before Christmas. As they dream of sugar plums dancing in their heads, the man himself is said to fill their shoes with candy and toys!

Hungary

The footwear of choice that eager children leave out for treats is boots, which they rest on the window waiting for Mekulash, the Hungarian Santa. Good, well-behaved children are rewarded with boots filled with chocolate, nuts, and fruit. On the other hand, sticks or switches are placed in the boots of misbehaving children. It isn’t unheard of for children in Hungary to receive both sweets and a switch, oddly enough!

Iceland

Much like the Hungarian children, boys and girls in Iceland will leave their shoes on the windowsill during the Christmas season. The difference is that Jolasveinar, a troop of 13 elves, comes to visit one at a time over the course of 13 days. These elves leave all sorts of goodies for good children. Meanwhile, bad children will find their shoes filled with potatoes.

Italy

In Italy, Santa rides a broom. Also, Santa is actually a witchy old woman named La Befana. Children throughout Italy set out their shoes and go to bed filled with anticipation for La Befana’s arrival. It is said that she brings toys, fruit, and candy to well-behaved children. For those who like to be disobedient, La Befana fills their shoes with coal!

Netherlands

Children in the Netherlands excitedly prepare for the arrival of St. Nicholas by filling their wooden shoes with hay and carrots for his horse. The next morning, they can expect their shoes to be filled with toys and candy for their kind offerings.

Spain

Like children throughout the world, Spanish kids will leave their shoes out hoping to receive gifts and treats. However, they set them out beside the door, fireplace, or balcony on January 6, which is the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. These shoes are filled with hay for the Wise Men’s camels; in return for the kind gesture, those shoes are filled with candy and toys!

Venezuela

Going to church to celebrate the holiday? Be sure to blend in with everyone else and don your roller skates! Skating to church is a holiday tradition in Venezuela, so much so that the streets are closed off, making skating to church easy and extra enjoyable.

United Kingdom

Much like how we do in the United States, families in the UK hang up stockings on their mantles (or from their beds!) for Old Saint Nick. Why? Because they want to try catching the coins that Father Christmas drops through the chimney. Often, residents will wake up the next day to stockings filled with oranges or tangerines, which symbolize coins or bags of gold.

United States

We in the U.S. have a few foot-related holiday traditions as well. Of course, families everywhere hang stockings and set out an offering of milk and cookies so Santa can leave good children plenty of presents. But did you know that many others also celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6? Like many other countries, children leave out their shoes by the fireplace or window so good ol’ Saint Nick may leave a few goodies for the shoes’ owners.

How will you celebrate the holiday season? Tell us in the comments below!


7 Reasons to be Thankful for Your Feet

It may seem biased, but we truly can think of no other body part that is as overworked and underappreciated as the feet. As amazing works of architectural art, our feet deserve so much love and respect for all that they do for us. Here are 7 good reasons why you should be thankful for your feet:

They House 25% of Our Bones

We all know that the human body contains 206 bones. Our feet are collectively comprised of 52 bones, 66 joints, and more than 240 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. These are all essential in helping us get from point A to point B each day!

They Endure Quite a Bit of Pressure

With each step, your feet endure hundreds of tons of force. This is equivalent to a fully-loaded cement truck (or more than 50 cars). That’s only walking – when you run, your feet endure between 5 and 7 times your weight!

They’re Super Ticklish for a Good Reason

Ever wonder why your feet can be so darn touchy? Here’s why – approximately 8,000 nerves can be found in your feet with several nerve endings existing near the skin. Actually, being ticklish is a good thing. Reduced sensitivity can often indicate neuropathy, a medical condition typically connected to diabetes.

They Can Tell You a Lot About Your Health

The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your feet are the mirror of your body. Podiatric issues are usually your first indicator that you’re suffering from a serious medical problem. Many health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, nerve disorders, and circulatory disorders can often develop in the feet, so it’s wise to pay good attention to any foot ailments that appear.

Movement is a Very Involved Process We often walk without really thinking about what’s happening in our bodies. With each measured step, skip, pivot, or pirouette, our feet are working magic (well, scientifically speaking). Communicating with the brain and more than 100 other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, our feet get us to where we need to be, all while keeping us upright and stable.


Overcoming Heel Pain During Pregnancy

There’s certainly a lot of planning that goes into a couple’s decision of having a baby, but how often do some of us get lost in the negatives? By this, of course, we mean the pains that come along with pregnancy. Luckily for the mothers-to-be, we no longer live in an age where discomfort has to be endured – especially with heel pain. Interested to learn more? Read more from The Foot & Ankle Center on how to overcome pain in the feet and ankles during pregnancy.

Causes

While necessary, an increase in body weight will be one of the primary causes for heel pain in pregnant women. As with any weight gain, the feet and ankles are forced to adjust to additional pressure, causing pain. A progressive change in one’s daily routines and activities is another culprit. Sitting more often than not can lead to inflammation over time.  

Treatments

The act of stretching and flexing the feet, ankles, and toes is a simple way to instantly fight inflammation. Try these nine exercises before or after you experience any signs of pain. Swelling in the feet and ankles is typical for a woman during her pregnancy as well, but this can be treated with digital orthotics. Finding shoes with properly supported footwear is tough, so we offer orthotics tailored specifically for you.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Heel pain can also originate from several common conditions including plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, or tendinitis. If you have been experiencing swelling or stiffness before, during, or after pregnancy, schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable podiatrists as soon as possible to relieve any aching.

Preventative Measures

As professionals in podiatry, we constantly work with people who wait for their heel pain to go away on its own. But while you may be able to grin and bear it, an injury to the feet or ankles can lead to other issues. This can include soreness in the back, hips, joints, knees, or even shins. Treating heel pain sooner rather than later is a preventative measure in itself for the rest of the body.

Who to Call

If the pain just won’t go away, then it’s time to call for help. The Foot & Ankle Center is prepared to answer any and all questions you may having regarding heel pain! Call us today at 314-487-9300 for more information or to schedule an appointment.


What is a Gout Attack and How Can You Avoid It?

If you’re familiar with gout, you know that it’s an intensely painful arthritic disorder that affects the toes. Sometimes, this pain can occur suddenly and without warning. If you’ve felt this, then you probably have experienced what’s known as a gout attack.

What is Gout?

Before we can discuss what gout attacks are, let’s first look at the condition itself. Gout is a disorder that results from the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, tendons, or tissues. The result is painful, sore, and aching feet.

What is a Gout Attack?

Those who suffer from this arthritic disorder may be unexpectedly hit with intense pain that comes out of nowhere. Patients will also normally experience redness and swelling in the affected area. Often, gout sufferers will explain that their feet or toes are painful to the touch – even laying a bed sheet over the area hurts. These attacks happen most commonly during the night.

What Happens During a Gout Attack?

If you experience a gout attack, then you have uric acid to blame. When too much of this acid is present in the cool blood near your lower extremities, it can cause a negative reaction in your body. As soon as the uric acid enters the toe joints, it will trigger your body’s immune response to get rid of the foreign body. Unfortunately, patients will experience the painful symptoms this response elicits.

What’s the Deal with Uric Acid?

Now that we’ve identified the culprit, let’s discuss uric acid. Your body produces this compound to break down a substance called purine. Purine can be found not only in your body but also in certain foods and drinks you may eat, including red meats, beers and other alcoholic beverages, and salt. Typically, uric acid will dissolve in your blood, and your kidneys will filter it through your urine. However, if you produce too much uric acid, it can build up, which may cause urate crystals to form, triggering gout or gout attacks.

How Can You Treat a Gout Attack?

After a proper diagnosis, your podiatrist will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to tackle the pain and reduce swelling. If you experience the attack in your toes, we will more than likely recommend elevating your feet, limiting walking, and wearing only loose slippers. Your symptoms should fade within 3 to 10 days. If they persist or if you have repeated attacks, however, contact us!

How Can You Prevent Gout Attacks?

A few dietary changes may be in order here. Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help stave off gout attacks. Additionally, limit or avoid purine-rich food like red meat, organ meats, red wine, beer, and alcohol. If you have a family history of gout, it would be wise to visit your podiatrist regularly to reduce the possibility of experiencing these attacks. Gout is certainly a painful disorder, but it doesn’t have to stay that way for you. Tackle gout head-on by calling the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center at (314) 487-9300!